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Moogly: Spreading Happiness on Campus One Paw at a Time

MooglyTen years ago, Professor Chantale Lussier would meet someone who would change her life forever. Moogly was five months old when Chantale, in search of a red golden retriever, received an email from a friend informing her of the puppy's arrival at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) of Western Quebec. She went to their office that very afternoon. As with any potential adoption, Chantale took Moogly for a walk so they could get to know each other. At one point during the walk, Chantale decided to take a break to consider this big decision. As soon as she sat down on the curb, Moogly backed up towards her and sat on her lap. Moogly's decision was clear; he had chosen Chantale. They have been inseparable ever since.

Professor Lussier has been part of the School of Counselling at Saint Paul University (SPU) since July 2017. A University of Ottawa alumni who studied sport psychology, she has been working as a mental performance consultant for the past 16 years. She is the founder of Elysian Insight, a mental performance solutions company that helps university-level, elite, and pro athletes develop the mental skills they need to perform in their high-pressure industries. Chantale has worked with numerous nationally and internationally ranked athletes, including a few athletes now on the Canadian Women's Olympic Hockey team that has been competing in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games

Womens olympic team

At Saint Paul University, Chantale teaches the following courses: Practicum clinique interne en counselling et psychothérapie, Perspectives on Psycho-Social Human Behavior and Positive Psychology and the Spirituality. In addition, she conducts research on topics including creativity and optimal performance, well-being and mental health, embodied therapeutic approaches, and the psychology of transitions. She also endeavours to help Moogly on his mission of love as a registered therapy dog! Moogly often assists Chantale with her classes. The students love seeing him and often ask about him if he is not there.

What does his work mean for Moogly? As a therapy dog, Moogly has special training, which he acquired through Ottawa Therapy Dogs Inc. Each potential therapy dog goes through a basic training program once they are at least two years old. They learn basic skills and commands, and must pass an exam with their human in order to start working in animal assisted therapy. They also must go to potential workplaces to make sure they are comfortable in different environments. A hospital, for example - with the rolling IVs, wires and funny noises - could be very scary for a dog. Moogly has other training as well. He is certified for the Reading Education Assistance Dog program (R.E.A.D.), which allows him to go into libraries and schools to help children learn to read. Kids are a lot more comfortable reading to a dog than they are reading to adults. Moogly provides a judgment-free listener, and he loves it! He does not just make people happy - he makes them healthy. These are only a few ways that a therapy dog helps people.

Moogly

While the role of a therapy dog is to provide comfort and emotional support to many people, a working dog is specifically trained to assist one person. For example, guide dogs help people with visual impairments, hearing dogs help those with hearing impairments, and service dogs help those with mobility restrictions and many other disabilities and medical issues. These dogs should not be approached while on duty unless their handler says it is okay.

After taking a break for a few years, Moogly is making Saint Paul University one of his new homes. He is very excited to be here and to make everyone smile. His favourite treat is to meet people! If you see Moogly on campus, feel free to say hi to him and to ask for a high five anytime. You will make his day – and he may just make yours.

Moogly will be available for regular meetups with students on campus soon. In the meantime, follow SPU’s favourite pooch and find out more about his schedule on Instagram at hasgtag Mooglygram

Article written by Laura Bradley, 4th-year student in Social Communication



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