In late March, the Mount’s Counselling Services staff welcomed a new member to their team – Charlie, an adorable eight-year-old Goldendoodle therapy dog certified through St. John Ambulance. Charlie is the Mount’s second therapy dog. His predecessor, a lovable Shih Tzu named Oscar, moved on to a new adventure last June.

Counselling Services and CharliePictured above (l-r): Jillian Rankin, Interim Coordinator of Counselling Services at the Mount, Marilyn Kienapple, Charlie’s owner and handler, and Heather Patterson, Registered Psychologist at the Mount.

“We believe in the power of animal assisted therapy,” says Jillian Rankin, Interim Coordinator of Counselling Services at the Mount. “When looking for a new therapy dog, we took our time to make sure we found the right dog for our students’ needs – and we have certainly found this in Charlie.”

Not only is Charlie’s personality a perfect fit – he also has a close connection to the Mount. His owners are Dr. Kim Kienapple, the Mount’s Dean of Professional and Graduate Studies, and his wife Marilyn. Marilyn has been specially trained as a handler by St. John Ambulance, and will accompany Charlie when he visits the Mount Library on Tuesdays for Chillin’ with Charlie hour.

Kim and Charlie cropPictured above (l-r): Dr. Kim Kienapple and his lovable pooch Charlie.

“We’re thrilled that Charlie is the Mount’s new therapy dog,” said Dr. Kienapple. “He’s a wonderful companion and we’re confident the students will love him just as much as we do.”

Having Charlie to cuddle and spend time with helps students who are feeling stressed, or dealing with a variety of mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, social issues and homesickness. Clinical evidence suggests that therapy dogs can help fill the absence of previous support systems and help students adjust to a new lifestyle in university.

Chillin with Charlie group

Chillin’ with Charlie hour at the Mount

Visit the main floor of the Mount Library for cuddles, ear scratches and belly rubs every Tuesday from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. until April 30. He plans to stop by campus throughout the summer, and then get back to his regular Tuesday visits in the fall.