TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) -- Mental health is one of many discussions that are taking place due to the pandemic. Many people are feeling lonely, anxious, or having feelings they never thought they would. According to the World Health Organization COVID-19 has increased the need for mental health services.
Many schools have expanded on the services they offer to students.
One higher education institution in the Wabash valley decided it was time to expand its services, and bring in a four-legged therapist to help their students this year.
Sadie is not your average golden retriever. She’s also a therapy dog at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College.
The college always wanted to bring a therapy dog on campus. Because of the pandemic, campus life staff thought it was no better time to introduce Sadie to students.
Associate Director of Campus Life Samantha Robinson said, “Ya, we have other students that have the emotional support animals, but not necessarily a bigger dog like this. She is 82 pounds of love. She’s heavy to pick up but she’s a complete lap dog. And that’s normally what you want when you have a therapy dog.”
So far, Robinson told News 10 Sadie’s helped more than 50 students and staff alike.
Erika Schweppe is one of those students who has been helped by Sadie.
She said the school year is always a stressful time, especially now that she and her classmates are having to deal with COVID-19.
Schweppe said, “The first week of the semester is always stressful, and with covid and everything this week has been kind of stressful. But even just the small amount of times I’ve been spending with Sadie today has helped. She does help a lot.”
She told News 10 Sadie has personally helped her this school year by making sure she never feels lonely.
She told News 10 now that Sadie is around her, and the whole campus, feel more joyful.
She said Sadie is more than a dog, she’s someone you can rely on to make you feel better.
Schweppe said, “So, it’s always nice to be able to sit down and de-stress a little bit. And just sit and have a companion right there to even talk to her. She won’t respond but you can let stressors out that way.”
Schweppe told News 10 she’s very thankful Sadie will always be here to help.
Robinson said Saide will start being on campus longer this semester so she can help reach more people.