POOCH Program

Flannery loves hugs!

Flannery loves hugs!

Paws On Our Clients’ Hearts

Dogs provide multiple healing benefits for Selah House clients. They welcome our residents as they come in for admission and put them at ease. Stressors that often accompany eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are soothed with our friendly canines. POOCH dogs have all been temperament tested and carefully selected for work with clients.
POOCH Canines:

  • Reduce anxiety and depression among clients (and staff)
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Provide clients with an opportunity for leadership as they assert themselves to elicit appropriate behavior from the dog and teach the dog new skills
  • Provide a grounding tool for clients suffering from anxiety and/or dissociation
  • Allow clients to focus outward and nurture another creature
  • Promote an informal, home-like healing environment
  • Enable clients to feel unconditional love
  • Satisfy the need for positive, non-threatening touch
  • Allow clients to feed an animal and see it enjoy food without concern about body image
  • Observe the canine handler and other individuals model a loving relationship
  • Allow caregivers to elicit information about the client’s ability to form attachments and interpret the dog’s emotions
  • Facilitate communication among clients and between clients and caregivers
  • Help clients develop self-control
  • Allow clients to live in the moment
  • Reduce monotony in the daily routine
  • Soothe clients when they are upset, particularly after meals or at admission
  • Provide a distraction from preoccupation with eating disorder

Special care is taken to reduce any impact on clients with dog dander allergies. If there is an issue with an allergy, direct contact with the POOCH dog will be restricted and modifications of use in treatment will be made. POOCH dogs are not allowed in the kitchen areas, and food safety rules are followed.