(Photos by Whitney Cox, a MountainStar classroom teacher)
MountainStar Family Relief Nursery, a Central Oregon non-profit organization dedicated to preventing child abuse and neglect, is excited to welcome Clyde the therapy dog to their Therapeutic Early Childhood Program (TECP) in Bend, Oregon.
Clyde, an adult Newfoundland, is certified through Pet Partners, the largest and most prestigious non-profit registering therapy dogs and other therapy animals. Clyde has years of experience visiting hospitals, including St. Charles in Bend. According to his owner, Michael Eisenberg, Clyde especially enjoys visiting children and has visited with children as young as four months old. He has done a great deal of his therapy work in children’s hospital wards, including cancer wards, and in 2015 spent 114 days visiting at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Clyde will enhance the classroom environment helping children with bonding, socializing, and confidence (Clyde follows special commands to help children wary of dogs). According to Pet Partners, a dog’s or other pet’s presence lowers blood pressure response to mental stress.
The MountainStar program staff has developed visitation guidelines and parents were notified of Clyde’s participation within MountainStar’s classrooms. For more information about MountainStar visit www.mtstar.org or on Facebook @mtstar.bend
MountainStar Family Relief Nursery
MountainStar Family Relief Nursery’s mission is to prevent child abuse by working with families living in crisis in Deschutes, Jefferson, and Crook counties. The households served have an average of 18 risk factors for child abuse and neglect, including poverty, homelessness, mental health issues, domestic violence, and substance abuse. MountainStar provides crisis intervention and nationally-accredited therapeutic classes for babies and toddlers, as well as other services aimed at strengthening these vulnerable families. Young children represent half of the victims of child abuse in Oregon and need someone to intervene on their behalf when they are at such a critical stage of development. Relief Nurseries have documented success in reducing family risk factors for child abuse and neglect, improving family functioning and self-sufficiency, and reducing foster care utilization. For more information about MountainStar or to learn how to get involved, please visit www.mtstar.org or call (541) 322-6820.