Jackson Recovery Centers welcomes first therapy dog

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV)- One of the definitions of prevention is not only to stop or prevent a particular behavior, but also to provide a sense of comfort and wholeness.

Jackson’s new therapy dog, Loyola, does just that.

“They don’t care what you’ve done,” said Joy Gonnerman, Jackson Recovery Centers Prevention Specialist, and Loyola’s Partner. “They see the person, not the crime. And I think that helps the kids look at themselves differently too.”

Meet 3-year old Loyola.

She’s Jackson Recovery Center’s first-ever therapy dog.

“She will generally target a person that has had some trauma, that’s having some stress,” said Gonnerman. “And just by her presence, will be a calming effect.”

Loyola goes into work, every day, with the same agenda: to help others in need just with her presence.

“Essentially, there’s not any particular curriculum with her,” said Gonnerman. “She’ll be used mainly as a tool to help with the other curriculum that we teach.”

The half Great Pyrenees, and half Border Collie will be used in what is called indicated groups.

“Groups of people that are in juvenile detention perhaps,” adds Gonnerman. “Kids that have indicated a risk of substance abuse or use.”

Loyola’s calm demeanor and social personality makes her excel at her job.

3-year-old Loyola is a shelter dog, a dog that maybe someone didn’t want.

But her background helps other kids relate to her more.

“What they have done in the past doesn’t have to define them, and I think a dog makes that ever so much clear than any words I can speak,” said Gonnerman.

Gonnerman took classes to be certified partners, and Loyola had to go through a temperament evaluation.

They were officially certified in March, and have to be re-evaluated every 2 years.

Loyola’s first program with Jackson Recovery Centers will be on Wednesday.

Jennifer Lenzini

Jennifer Lenzini

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