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Dewey Service Dog statue makes a presence on campus


The Fins and Feathers affinity group gifted Norwich with a dog statue at the North End of Dewey Hall as a reminder of the struggle of alumni and students with psychological health on September 21st, 2023.

“The statue (…) depicts a service dog beside an empty bench where its handler should be sitting. The monument will serve as a permanent reminder of the weight that many of our Norwich family members carry,” said Celeste Bailey, Associate Director of Admissions.

Norwich produces many members of the military and first responders dedicated to service. These professions often cause Post-Traumatic Stress and create “invisible wounds.” Many members of Norwich’s alumni community have been lost to the effects of these psychological stresses. Struggles with psychological health exist among Alumni and students. This dog statue is dedicated to alumni and students struggling with Post Traumatic Stress and mental health challenges.

The statue was dedicated on Thursday, September 21. He is a Labrador retriever, a breed of hunting dogs. The Dog’s name is Fin, as a tribute to the sponsors, the Fins & Feathers affinity group. Fins and Feathers is a fundraising organization established by Norwich alumni.

They also commissioned a video to raise awareness of the programs and supports available to those who are struggling. It tells the story of LTC Christopher Cadigan, who was diagnosed with PTS. He adopted a service dog to aid him. This video aims to destigmatize conversations about mental health.

One of the programs they promote is the Buddy Check system. Through this program, you are sent an email or text on the 18th and 19th of every month as a reminder to check in with friends and family.

Students, staff, and alumni can deal with various stresses and struggles behind closed doors. It is important to be aware of the services and resources Norwich provides to assist with these struggles.

Norwich’s therapy dogs are one such resource. Service animals, such as Finn, are trained to perform specific tasks and work with people who have disabilities. Therapy animals are slightly different, trained to provide comfort and affection in clinical settings.

Alfie and River are the head strength and conditioning coach’s dogs. Alfie is a certified therapy dog through the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, and River will be taking her official test later this year.

“Having these furry companions on campus provides comfort, making students feel more at home and allowing for less intimidating situations in areas such as the weight room, going through Rookdom, or during periods of high academic stress,” said Scott Caufield, Head Coach of Strength and Conditioning.

Alfie and River can be found in the WCC Fishbowl every Friday from 11:30 AM to 1 PM. Students and staff can also interact with therapy dogs throughout the year during various times organized by the Counseling Center.

The Wellness Fair is an upcoming event on October 25th. The purpose of this event is to learn about community resources available to help enhance students’ well-being.

The Counseling Center also provides students with mental health resources. Their goal is to provide students with psychological help throughout their academic and personal journeys. Students can receive short-term counseling for free.

“We have lost too many members of our alumni community to this illness, and now is the time to evaluate how we can better care for one another,” said Lindsay Budnik, Assistant VP of Development Communications.

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