When it comes to finding therapy for mental illness, it’s important to connect with the right resources for your specific struggles. Our facility offers treatment for mental health in Boca Raton, including dual diagnosis treatment. But some patients may need additional support following their treatment at our facility. Dawn Hoppe K9 is a service that connects individuals with therapy dogs for a variety of treatments, including PTSD treatment. We recently spoke with Dawn Hoppe, founder of Dawn Hoppe K9, to learn more about her programs.


Excel Behavioral Health: How did your organization start?

Dawn Hoppe K9: My organization started when I was training Certified Service Dogs and I saw the need for professional trained therapy dogs.

Dawn Hoppe poses with a therapy dog for mental illness treatment.

EBH: How do therapy dogs help people heal?

DH: They provide comfort to those with anxiety and depression, and they do help [treat] addiction by changing the brain’s ability to handle stress.


EBH: Can therapy dogs address addiction?

DH: Yes, they are awesome to use to help addicts.


EBH: What challenges can therapy dogs help address?

DH: They can address any type of problem, they are always welcome in hospitals, nursing homes, and especially rehabilitation centers.


EBH: What kind of dogs make the best therapy dogs?

DH:  Any dog can be a therapy dog. Mixed breeds can be great. There are many types of therapy dogs, big or small, they are welcome to snuggle in bed if they are small, and if they’re big, a nice hug or scratch on the head.


EBH: How long will someone work with a therapy dog during their recovery?

DH:  As long as it takes. Normally, they [patients] will start with a therapy dog every day, [working] one on one, then slowly wean themselves off, but they can [also] have a therapy dog once they get out of rehab.


EBH: Can therapy dogs improve emotional cognition? How so?

DH: By providing comfort in times when the human feels reluctant to talk, even in a group setting, they can actually be part of the group setting. I have been working for over 25 years in my field and have seen the almost miraculous effects of the dog or any animal to help heal someone who may not even be able to admit that they have anything wrong with them.

Therapy dog posing. Dawn Hoppe K9 uses therapy dogs to help treat PTSD, anxiety, and other mental illnesses.

We want to thank Dawn Hoppe for sharing information about her program with us! Therapy dogs can be a wonderful additional therapy for mental illness treatment, making it possible for full healing. Therapy dogs are ideal for PTSD treatment, continuing care, and other treatments. Learn more about Dawn Hoppe K9 here.

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