Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Meet Flynn, NAIT's animal-assisted therapy dog

NAIT dogged by caring canine

It’s a “ruff” job but someone’s got to do it. Flynn, an Australian Labradoodle, is NAIT’s assisted therapy dog.

Since September 2013, Flynn has worked with NAIT's Counselling centre, where staff and students can drop in to see him, or catch him roaming the halls with Linda Shaw, his owner and trainer, as well as a registered nurse and health services supervisor.

“People come and sit, pet him and you can almost see the change in their faces,” Shaw says.

She sees Flynn as one piece of the mental health and wellness puzzle at NAIT. Research suggests animal-assisted therapy improves self-esteem and mood, reduces anxiety and stress, and provides physical comfort.

Here’s how Flynn qualifies for the role of Ambassador of Paws-itivity.

Learn more about support offered by NAIT's counselling centre

Flynn's 'canine' vitae

Flynn brings great joy to a student on NAIT campus.D.O.B: April 9, 2013
Hometown: Blackie, Alberta
Current address: South Edmonton
Employment history: NAIT
Career objective: Relieve stress and calm students and staff

Education

Certified by Chimo Animal Assisted Therapy, an Edmonton-based organization that helps develop, plan and implement animal-assisted therapy programs

Clicker training - training (for sitting, staying, etc.) by positive reinforcement. A click is associated with an action then a reward
Desensitization training – training, also using rewards, to react positively to triggers that would normally cause fear or anxiety

Successful puppy temperament assessment

Skills

  • Calming, relaxing and de-stressing clients
  • Approachable
  • Outgoing, dedicated and confident
  • Works well in group or individual settings
     

Languages

  • Sign language
  • English
  • Polish
     

Personal interests

  • People
  • Chasing balls
  • Catching balls
  • Playing in snow
  • Sleeping
  • Eating. Favourite foods: dehydrated liver, beef broth ice cubes, peanut butter, bananas, apples and carrots

    This article has been updated. It was originally publish Oct. 11, 2016.

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