Louie Provides Comfort for Students at Counseling Center

Whether students are feeling anxious or depressed or if they simply need some stress relief, they can always stop by the Counseling Center to visit Louie, Whitman College’s resident comfort dog.

Photo by Rachael Barton

Multiple studies have indicated that spending time with animals can be a great form of stress relief. Playing with an animal can not only lower blood pressure, but also stress hormones like cortisol, which is associated with depression and anxiety. Animals can even elevate beneficial hormones like oxytocin, which is linked to happiness and relaxation.

Louie is owned and taken care of by Associate Dean of Health and Wellness and Director of Counseling Dr. F. Thacher Carter, and he first came to Whitman when Carter did.

“When I was the director of counseling at Eastern Oregon University, I brought him with me to work because he seemed to enjoy hanging out at the counseling center and meeting students. So when I came to Whitman, he started with me,” said Carter.

According to Carter, Louie’s distinct personality makes him very comforting.

“He is a very mellow pooch … He is soft, warm and somewhat pliable. He seems to be pretty tuned into people’s emotions, and at times will come sit with someone who appears upset and sad. He helps people feel at ease and enables them to feel they are in a safe place.”

If a student ever wants to spend some time with Louie, simply come by the Counseling Center.

“Stop by and say hello!” said Carter.




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