Cute puppies aren’t merely adorable – they help alleviate stress in humans too! University of North Carolina has put puppy cuteness to good use by introducing a new puppy program that promotes mental health!
Thava Mahadevan, MS, Director of Operations at the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health, has started a program that aims to help people lead more healthy and social lives.
When Mahadevan noticed that a significant amount of clients with mental illness also suffered from poor health, he set out to solve this problem with simple solutions.
With the belief that the key to happiness should also be holistic, Thefarm at Penny Lane became a place forhis patients to plant and grow healthy and affordable food.
Last year Mahadevan introduced new innovative and positive forms of therapy to the farm when he started the University of North Carolina Peer Assisted Wellness Support or UNC PAWS.
Puppies are brought to The Farm at Penny Lane in Pittsboro, North Carolina, where they are socialized for 10 weeks at the Puppy Development Center.
Sunny Westerman and her team of volunteers take the cute puppiesto a number of places, including farmer’s markets, nursing homes for the elderly and fire stations. After socialization, the puppies are thentaken to a women’s prison in West Virginia where they are formally trained as service dogs.
Once the pups complete their training, they are matched with a veteran suffering from PTSD.