Trees of Hope: Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge Adds Therapy Dog to Their Team

Ryan Juntti
Updated: December 23, 2019 07:42 AM

As the number of people battling addiction continues to grow across the Northland, more resources are needed to continue the fight against it. One of the groups that aims to help those battling addiction is Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge. Over the summer, they added another member to their team. 


In the midst of battling addiction, men at Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge can expect to be cared for by the other men and the staff, but also by Chatham the therapy dog.

"Sometimes you know we're having a bad day here in Teen Challenge, and Chatham brings us right out of it," said Matt, a program participant at Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge.

Chatham arrived at Teen Challenge from Texas in August.

Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge Treatment Director Becky Revier says the men and staff certainly enjoy his company, but adds when Chatham is in the room, the men actually talk to each other more.

"You can walk into a tense room, and as soon as Chatham comes in, everybody's smiling, everybody's talking like a baby to the dog, so he just brings joy wherever he goes," said Revier.

And that positive mindset allows the men to focus on the positive message of the treatment instead of the negative effects of their addiction.

"Having an animal actually increases endorphins in our bodies, it helps us heal faster. It lowers feelings of isolation, lowers, anxiety, depression," said Revier.

They say a dog is a man's best friend, and Matt knows he can always count on Chatham to be right by his side.

"Chatham's usually here and always in a positive, upbeat mood, and he's someone, he's always got a listening ear, and, I can just go see Chatham whenever I'm kind of stressed and he always puts a smile on my face," said Matt.

Revier says Chatham is also with the men in their groups and therapy sessions. 


Ryan Juntti

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