Furry, Four-Legged Staffer Floods Patients With Love

The Difference You Make

"Oregon is pro-dog . . . it's the dog state," says Kristen Cannavino (pictured above), manager of administration at Hazelden's Springbrook campus in Newberg, Oregon. So it's not surprising that Hazelden staff was enthusiastic about offering animal-assisted programming.

But there was no budget for bringing a dog on staff.

Kristen rose to the challenge with a slew of creative ideas for raising the funds needed to acquire Nala, an adorable, fluffy labradoodle puppy.

Kristen organized a silent auction and a dog-naming raffle. Donors and board members were wonderfully generous. Staff participated too, through the "Denim for Dog Dollars" campaign—for every five dollar donation, employees were allowed to proudly wear jeans to work on a Wednesday.

And very quickly, thanks to your donations, $21,000 was raised to purchase and train Nala, train several counselors to be her handlers, and cover her initial food and veterinary expenses.

Puppies are cute—but do they make a difference in recovery?

Research shows that interacting with trained animals during treatment sessions has a measurably positive effect on patients.

People struggling with addiction often have negative self-images and feel thoroughly unlovable. But an affectionate puppy like Nala makes no judgments (as even the most well-meaning humans sometimes do). She just floods patients with unconditional love— and in so doing, she makes them feel wonderful, boosting their self-esteem.

Studies also show that facility animals can strengthen the effectiveness of substance use disorder treatment because they actually strengthen the therapeutic bond between patient and counselor.

Kristen is thrilled with the community's response to Nala since she arrived on campus in March. "What a beautiful thing it is to watch Nala ease someone's mind when they're consumed with fear and anxiety," she says.

We need your help to keep Nala on board!

Give generously to Nala's care fund—food, maintenance, health care, training—your gift will help Nala provide love and comfort to patients for many years.

Support Nala by donating online at HazeldenBettyFord.org/animal
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