Pensacola State College’s Wellness Services welcomes Rudy the VIII, a two-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever.
Rudy will provide help and ensure mental well-being for students who are facing challenges that might affect their academic performance and will provide a sense of safety.
He assists handler Brittney Clark during her work as a mental health coordinator by responding to some of the 40 commands that he knows. They include visit, lap, tug, open, and turn off and on a light switch.
Rudy came from a group called Canine Companions for Independence. Canine Companions is recognized worldwide for their excellence in dogs, quality and longevity for the matches they make between dogs and people. “He(Rudy) completed a rigorous training session at Canine Companions regional campus in Orlando to learn how to work with and handle a facility dog,” said Clark.
Clark said, “Nudge is an important command that I will use a lot,” said Clark. “Many of the students that I see are under a lot of stress. Rudy will nudge someone with his nose to bring them back to focus.”
“Any PSC student is eligible to have a session with Rudy,. He(Rudy) mostly works with students who are actively participating in mental health counseling; however, he also has room on the books for those students who are having a bad day.” Clark Said
“Rudy has changed my life by helping me to better connect with my clients. Rudy helps to provide a therapeutic environment that encourages trust, provides emotional safety, and eases disclosure. Having a dog in session is also motivating for clients to both engage in and return to therapy,” said Clark.
“Therapy sessions with Rudy can be fun and energizing, which may be a welcome change for clients who have previously had unsuccessful therapeutic experiences.” said Clark.
Students can make an appointment for Dog-tor Rudy through phone,(850)-484-1758, and email, firstname.lastname@example.org. At this time she is not accepting or taking walk-in appointments. Her office is located in building 11, room 1100H and her office is the last one on the right.