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Compassion Care Certificate

Concordia University Wisconsin recently began a new certification program called Compassion Care Certificate. In this program, students are able to earn two certificates; one through Concordia University and one through a local dog training facility, Dawgs in Motion. Department of Education-Elementary professor Dr. Nicole Muth, one of the leading professors of the program, explains the difference between the two certificates.

​“You earn a certificate through [Dawgs in Motion] in handling and training a dog for a vocational setting… [The Compassion Care Certificate] provides you with skills and experiences in providing compassionate caregiving skills in different vocational settings.” These settings can include a school setting, counseling office, etc.

​The Compassion Care Certificate is earned through Concordia University. This program may not work directly with the comfort dogs and has more do to with putting caregiving into practice. Unlike the certificate through Dawgs in Motion, this one will also be reflected on the student’s transcript.

​While the program is open to all students, the certificate is mainly directed towards students with majors such as education, athletic training, psychology, and social work, as many of the students within these majors will later on require the skills they offer.

​The program is made up of twelve credits and offers two courses per semester. The courses are not required to be taken in a specific order besides taking comfort dog handling and skill development first.

Concordia’s Newest Comfort Dog

While this program does earn you a certificate to be a comfort dog handler, students must still apply to be a handler for one of Concordia’s own comfort dogs on campus. During this process, students will be required to submit an application and complete an interview with either,Dr. Muth, school counselor Dave Enters or Department of health and human performance professor, Dr. Rhonda Verdigan. Although, the number of handlers needed each year is limited, the number will be increased due to the addition of Grace, Concordia’s newest comfort dog.

​Grace has been working hard and has completed all training needed to be a certified comfort dog. She is set to join the Concordia University Wisconsin campus this coming fall.

​“She’s been on campus twice so far and we are hoping to have her on campus a couple more times this spring to start to acclimate her to our campus,”said Dr. Muth.

​For more information on how to become a handler for Grace, please reach out to Dr. Muth at

—Tess Miller is writer for The Beacon, the official student newspaper of Concordia University Wisconsin. She is a junior pursuing her bachelor’s degree in mass communication.