Therapy dogs bring comfort to Challenge Youth Academy

Since the spring of 2017, Joanne Peters and her wonderful team from Nature Coast Therapy Dogs have been providing bi-weekly therapy sessions for participants at Eckerd Challenge Youth Academy in Brooksville, Florida.

Joanne is a dedicated, experienced provider, with over 20 years of experience providing therapy to those in need of just a little love, friendship, and support in the shape of a furry, four-legged friend.

Jackson, a 130 pound Newfoundland, who knows exactly who needs him most.

Along with Joanne, DJ Gwilt attends every other week with her pooch, Lincoln. Lincoln is young, adorable, loving Golden Retriever that just loves on everyone he meets.

The newest addition to the team coming to Challenge is Pete MacDonald. Pete brings with him Maggie Mae, a mature, experienced, and very demure black lab.

This is the first time that Challenge Youth Academy has used animal assisted therapy, and so far it is going smashingly! The youth (and staff) look forward to the days that Maggie, Lincoln, and Jackson are on campus. With the presence of the dogs in group, the youth have used the opportunity to address some issues they weren’t comfortable talking about previously.

As the youth continue developing a bond with the dogs, the partnership between Challenge Youth Academy and Nature Coast Therapy Dogs continues to grow. By August of 2017, NCTD will add two more teams, providing Challenge Youth Academy with weekly therapy visits.