Sophie: Therapy Dog

Research shows that holding or petting animals can soothe our fears and anxieties; and that quiet moments, sitting beside a therapy dog are healing. Companionship of pets, particularly dogs, helps children and families cope with serious illness and death (Raveis, 1993). Animal Assisted Therapy was first documented as helping to treat people with various challenges like depression and anxiety as far back as 1792. The Quaker’s found that the presence of dogs promoted physical and mental health among their patients; and improved their overall moral and behavior. Animals have been used in a variety of therapies ever since. It’s been proven that dogs are preventative and therapeutic measures against every day stress (Allen, 1991), and that pet owners have better psychological well-being (Serpel, 1990).

After practicing over 15 years in the Auburn area, we at California Relationship Center, added Sophie, the therapy dog, to our staff. She has enhanced the sessions of many clients who have found her to be a calming and loving presence. Upon arriving, you may see her sitting in the office window with a look of expectation. As you enter, she will warmly greet you, and is excited and ready to get to work. Because pets fulfill many of the same support functions as humans do for adults and children, Sophie has become an asset to the healing process (Melson, 1998). When words are painful and stressful, Sophie may lend her support by simply laying her furry head on your lap, because sometimes, “in vulnerable moments, we communicate with dogs through silence and touch” (Fine, 2008). Studies of Animal Assisted Therapy have proven that animals decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation (Kidd, 1994). For more information about Animal Assisted Therapy, or if you would like to talk to Sophie directly, please email her at

  • Research has shown that contact with animals can have a positive impact on health (Kaiser Permanente Outlook, 2008).
  • 58.2 million US households have at least one pet (2003 report by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s enter for Information Management).
  • 90% of pet owners refer to their pet as a “member of the family” and 83% refer to themselves as “mommy or daddy” (Young, 2003).
  • Animals contribute to the well-being of humans because…
    • Pets are always perceived as being available
    • Not many social skills are required to get the animal’s attention
    • Pets provide an escape from the strains of human interaction
    • (Collis & McNicholas, 1995)

“They never talk about themselves, but listen while you talk about yourself, and keep up the appearance of being interested in the conversation” (Jerome K. Jerome, English Humorist).

Why wait? Call 530-889-0178, text us or email us for more information, to make an appointment or for a free twenty minute consultation.

Psychotherapy, counseling, coaching, consulting for individuals and couples, families and group therapy. Serving Auburn, Rocklin, Roseville and Granite Bay, California. Video and phone consultation also available worldwide for anxiety, depression and relationship problems. Be sure to see our other areas of expertise!