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A Collie’s Calling: Stella, Certified Therapy Dog

There is something magical about the connection between people and dogs.  A dog’s contagious joy and unconditional love make a wonderful addition to any therapy program. At Veritas Collaborative, Stella is especially helpful in comforting our adolescent patients on their journeys through eating disorder recovery. She helps in diffusing family conflict, decreasing the tension and anxiety associated with therapeutic challenges, and increasing a patient’s endorphins (good feelings) to balance negative emotions.

Stella didn’t know she wanted to be a therapy dog when she was rescued from a neglectful family at 5 months of age, but her gentle nature and her own experience with challenges have led her to embrace her therapy dog training. She has become an integral part of the Veritas Collaborative eating disorder treatment programs.

While our beautiful brown-eyed, tri-colored girl is a Canine Good Citizen and a Certified Therapy Dog through Therapy Dog International, it’s not her education that captures the hearts of patients and families. One look at Stella and it’s clear that her natural furry charisma makes her the most popular member of our staff.

The physical and emotional struggles that often accompany eating disorders can seem overwhelming for our adolescent patients, but Stella is always up for easing that pain and worry. Patients might not feel like getting out of bed or talking in a group, but who can resist giving this special girl a treat when she eagerly raises her paw for a “high-five?”

— Written by Stacie McEntyre, President and Chief Executive Officer