Getting Answers: Emotional support dogs in times of crisis

Getting Answers: Emotional support dogs in times of crisis
Published: Oct. 14, 2022 at 12:12 AM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -Western Mass News wanted to find out how front-line workers can receive emotional support during times of crisis. Turns out, it can come on four legs.

Comfort dogs are a tool used to calm people down in times of stress and can boost people’s moods.

Which is the role of Bear. Western New England University’s first comfort dog.

Bear’s handler, Sgt. Alexandria Caleb-Parzio who said they’re ready to help in times of need, but they won’t be responding to the impact the killing of two Connecticut officers has left, since they haven’t completed critical stress management trainings.

“We’re more than welcome to go out and help people. We just aren’t fully certified, so we don’t want to take away from the people who are doing the good work right now who are trained to do it,” she said.

But, Bear has started responding to incidents on the university’s campus.

We have had two incidences so far this semester. Bear’s just joined us in July, so he’s gone out to two mental health crises on campus other than that we’ve been doing a bunch of events with him so the campus get to know him and just letting people know when they are going through those critical times they can call on us,” explained Sgt. Caleb-Parzio.

If you are interested in following Bear’s growth, more information can be found here.