Kim & Bruin

  • Type of Service
    Therapy Dogs

Bruin, a Service Dog for the Classroom or Therapy, has been at our program, UMASS Transitions IRTP (Intensive Residential Treatment Program) for over a year. Our program currently services 15 adolescents who require long-term mental health treatment in a locked, secure setting.

Bruin enables kids to feel less lonely and depressed by being a warm body that they can hug. Most of our kids have been exposed to adults who have violated their trust and their boundaries. As a result, these kids have a very difficult time trusting others. Bruin allows kids to break down their walls, feel safe, and benefit from endless amounts of love and doggie kisses. Our teens often talk to Bruin about things that might be difficult to share with an adult and he is an outlet for the release of their difficult feelings.

Bruin is great because he does not judge or criticize, and is non-threatening. Kids take part in his care, which contributes to their learning how to be a caring and responsible person. I cannot recommend enough how valuable a Service Dog for Classroom/Therapy is to us and our program. Hopefully, the use of Service Dogs will become more prominent in classrooms and therapeutic settings to facilitate the growth of the children we work with each day.


Kimberly Kopp
Rehabilitation Assistant
UMASS Transitions

By Kristen 

This morning I was crying

I could taste the salty tears

It seemed like nothing could make it better

Ease my troubles or my fears

When down the hall I heard

The sound of running paws

I opened the door to see my friend

His name is Bruin the therapy dog

He seemed to sense my sadness

To know I felt upset

Followed me into my room

And up upon my bed

He gave me sloppy kisses

And took my tears away

He lay down with his head on my lap

And decided he would stay

His big brown eyes looked up at me

Soft fur beneath my hand

And somehow when no one else possibly could

I knew Bruin could understand

He always keeps my secrets

And he never tells a soul

He’s there for a hug and loves to play

When I feel all alone

He’s the best friend in the world

Always happy, always sweet

It’s a comfort to have him near me

Almost everyday of the week

I love the way he makes me feel

He lets me know I’m loved

He doesn’t care about my past

Or the bad things I’ve done

He looks at me how I am today

And love me just the way I am

When I fall I know I can count on him to encourage me to stand

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