The Charger Blog

University’s Staff Therapy Dog Continues to Bring Comfort – Remotely

By connecting with students on Instagram, Brue, a member of the University's Counseling and Psychological Services team, is still making students smile while endeavoring to give them a sense of calm as they adjust to the impact of the coronavirus global pandemic and learning remotely for the remainder of this semester.

March 23, 2020

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Image of Brue.
Brue is an animal-assisted therapy specialist.

He and his "mom," Christine Pitotti, LPC, a staff clinician in the University's Counseling and Psychological Services Office, want students to know that even as the impact of COVID-19 has disrupted everyone’s daily lives, they have support.

Image of Brue, the University's staff therapy dog.
Brue, the University's staff therapy dog.

"I want them to know they aren't alone in this," said Pitotti. "I hope Brue will be a reminder that while the news may be heavy and anxiety-provoking at times, there is still an abundance of goodness and positivity to take in."

An animal-assisted therapy (AAT) specialist, Brue is typically available to students on campus, where he is involved with individual therapy sessions, group counseling, and outreach activities on campus, such as visiting residence halls, attending health fairs, and visiting departments and events.

"In times of crisis and adversity, and now with major changes in students’ routine and environment, Brue represents a steady and reliable presence," said Charles Anderson, Ph.D., ABPP, director of Counseling and Psychological Services. "He reminds students to have fun, take care of themselves, and reach out for help when they need to."

"Brue never hesitates to ask for what he needs, whether it’s treats, dinner, belly rubs, walks, or snuggles," Anderson continued. "Students should follow his example in making sure they are getting what they need from friends, family, health professionals, and the University."

Image of Collin Hill and Logan Hill.
Brue on campus.

Although students who connect with Brue online can’t pet him, they can watch him be his cute and lighthearted self. Brue is hosting Q&A sessions with students through his Instagram story, he’s providing photo and video updates, and he is maintaining a daily presence online.

As the semester continues, Brue may offer additional ways for students to connect, such as Brue Trivia or an Instagram Live with Brue. Pitotti hopes he can reach as many students as possible online, and she says he looks forward to connecting with everyone in person when they return to the campus.

Image Brue.
The University's staff therapy dog, Brue.

"Being able to share Brue with the campus community is one of the most joyful parts of my job," said Pitotti. "We feel so lucky to have a community that has welcomed us with so much love over the past year that Brue and I have been a part of the team. We love to connect virtually, and once we're back on campus, if you see Brue walking around, don't hesitate to come say hi and give him some pets."

In addition to @dogsinthehalls, the University’s Counseling and Psychological Services Office is posting videos and tips on its Instagram page, @thecownselingcow.

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