Concordia Students with Zoey.Concordia Students with Zoey.

University Business Magazine and Higher One have announced Concordia’s Comfort Dog Program as one of its “Models of Excellence” recipients.

The national Models of Excellence recognition program honors colleges and universities that have implemented innovative, effective and inter-departmental initiatives that are bolstering student success.

Evaluators consider criteria including improved: academic outcomes, financial literacy/responsibility, engagement with campus life, career preparation and guidance, retention, adjustment to college life, graduation rates, and/or life skills attainment.

Through Concordia’s Comfort Dog Program, which is under the direction of Counseling Services Director Dave Enters, therapy dog Zoey offers stress reduction, emotional relief and improved well-being to all those who may encounter her on campus.

Zoey also assists in the CUW counseling center and pays visits to various off-campus sites, such as nursing homes, hospitals and schools.

Zoey, with the help of her trained student handlers, logs 40-50 hours on campus and in the community in a typical week, coming into contact with an estimated 100-300 people each day.

“While our Comfort Dog Team sees Zoey’s positive impact on our campus and in the community on a daily basis, it is especially gratifying to know that our Comfort Dog Ministry is being recognized by an outside organization as one of the elite programs in the country that promotes student success and makes a difference in so many people’s lives,” said Enters. “Our Comfort Dog Team is made up of committed volunteers who dedicate their time and talents to this ministry.  I am very pleased that they are being recognized with this special honor.”

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at or 262-243-2149.

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