It was Monday. I was tired. I was stressed. To top it off, my pinkeye came back and that’s why I stopped by Student Health Services (SHS) on that dreary Halloween day. But there was a light in my dismal day; the new counseling dog was at Health Services. I sat down and got a little more information from Greta herself, and her owner Kristin Tekiele, the medical assistant at SHS.
Name: Greta Tekiele
Type: German Shepherd/Retriever mix (according to the owner)
Favorite Thing to do at SHS: Look out the window, hang out with the staff and interact with the students
Favorite Treat: Cheese
Where is Greta from?
K. Tekiele: We got her from a Humane Society in Indiana. They just found her as a little puppy wandering in a field.
How did she come to be a counseling dog?
Right away I noticed her temperament, just how calm she is. I asked the college if they’d be interested in a counseling dog, and they said yes so I started training her for therapy specifically for Student Health Services.
What did the training entail?
She has to pass basic obedience classes. Then I had to go through a company called Therapy Dogs Inc. and she had to pass a Canine Good Citizen test, which is about manners and how she interacts with other dogs and people. Then she had to do some nursing home visits.
What is Greta trained to treat?
She helps create a ‘no-stress’ atmosphere. When a student is stressed or sick, she helps to feel more relaxed and she creates more of a ‘home-y’ feel.
What’s Greta’s future here at Albion this year?
We want to involve her with more programs. Like during exams, have study breaks with her. We want to take her to Wesley when we do programs there. We are sort of easing her into the role, but she is doing great so far.
Are counseling dogs going to be a staple at Albion?
I hope so. If she does well, we hope to incorporate more dogs and different kinds of dogs. I think the counseling center should have a therapy dog.