Concordia University Wisconsin has received a second certified comfort dog, Sage, a purebred Golden Retriever.
Sage arrived on campus on August 20, and has devoted his time serving in the community, responding to tragedy and walking around the university to visit the students, faculty and staff. Sage is owned by CUW and works full-time, between 35-40 hours on an average week.
Sage serves as a resource for the School of Health Professions and helped launch an animal-assisted therapy program. Students will work closely with Sage, along with other dogs who are also certified for animal-assisted therapy.
Abby Foster, a senior in the Masters of Occupational Therapy Program, has been a handler for comfort dogs for over two years. She was recently re-certified in August to be able to work with Sage.
“What I feel like people don’t understand is that the mission of this ministry is not just about dogs. It is about utilizing the unconditional love and compassion that a dog is able to provide to people in need. The dog is merely a bridge between people that helps to create a connection and start a conversation,” Foster said.
Sage has joined Zoey, Concordia’s first Lutheran Church Charities (LCC) K-9 Comfort Dog. In 2014, Zoey was the first certified comfort dog in the nation to be employed full-time at a university.
“We see this dog as a bridge. It connects those in need with the dog’s handlers—Concordia students—who can then minister and reach out with Christian care,” Dr. Linda Samuel, dean of CUW’s School of Health Professions, said.
CUW has reacted positively to having two service dogs on campus. On September 13, the school held a Comfort Dog Club meeting where students had the opportunity to interact with the dogs.
“I think the impact that the comfort dogs have on our university is extremely great and makes choosing Concordia as your university an even easier decision. I am so blessed to be a part of the ministry and am happy to spread the word and share Sage’s story as it unfolds at Concordia University Wisconsin,” Foster said.
To stay updated with Sage, follow him on Instagram at @lcck9sage.
Written by Gabby Tolfa.