Butler 'hires' therapy dog to help with counseling

Scooter is the first therapy dog to be "hired" by Butler University. (Photo: WTHR staff)
Butler therapy dog
Scooter - Butler's therapy dog

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — The newest staff member at Butler University walks on all fours.

Scooter, the 1-year-old Cavachon mix, is the first therapy dog to be "hired" by the university. His owner, Shana Markle, is the Associate Director of Butler's Counseling and Consultation Center.

Scooter started out, as many therapy dogs do, as just the loving, adorable family dog. Working in counseling, Markle saw the positive benefits that come from human to dog interactions and decided to get Scooter certified. He went through months of training to receive his certification and now goes to work each day with his mom.

Markle says Scooter hangs out in her office during appointments, and she tells us that a lot of students gravitate toward him, sometimes leading them to hold their counseling session on the floor so they can pet Scooter.

"Animals are very good for anxiety and depression," she says. "If we have a student who is particularly anxious, having a chance to hold him can just lower some of the physical symptoms of anxiety."

Markle says it's also nice to just walk around campus with Scooter and let students interact with him that way.

"When students are coming and going they just collapse on him, and they'll just sit, and they'll often say, 'This is the best part of my day' or 'I just came back from a really stressful audition and this is exactly what I needed,'" Markle says. "So they just can't get enough of him."

Filed under: