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  • Tyla Charbonneau

Introducing McConkey the Therapy Dog (in training)

The thing about dogs is that they have a natural ability to love us unconditionally. Those wet noses seem to nest in our faces at just the right time, the zoomies bring us laughter, and dog snuggles can make any kind of day just a little brighter.


Fezzik the dog has been in my life for 10 years and I am not sure I have the words to justify the momentous impact he has made. Every morning he wags his tail and snuggles in to remind me that life is good and every night he reminds me to be grateful all while telling me "I got you." You can often find him in the office waiting to greet people and provide comfort during sessions. Some clients even say they come to see him and not me each week! He is a wise, kind, and well travelled pup. So, we thought he would be perfect to help us train a new puppy. I figured given the research on dogs and the natural therapy they bring to people we could train another dog to be an official aspect of my practice. Not to worry Fezzik still has the role of lead four legged therapy assistant :)


Doctor McConkey Charbonneau (his full CKC registered name, we call him McConkey) is currently 3 months old. He is named after Shane McConkey who in his short life brought endless joy to many of us through his skiing, humour, and what looked to me like a general love of life. This little Bernese Mountain Dog is working really hard on learning his manners.

To make sure he is well socialized we have a 3-3-3 rule: at least 3 new people, 3 new dogs, and 3 new situations/sounds every day. He also meets a few clients a week to give them a little love and puppy kisses. He is not quite able to stay for a whole session yet, but he is working on it. There is something pretty incredible about watching the look of joy on people’s faces when they see him waiting to say hello. In the short month we have had him I have seen countless smiles and endless joy as people meet him, give him cuddles, and stare into those brown eyes with one tiny speck of blue.


I took a chance and sent a picture of him to Sherry McConkey (Shane’s wife), she was kind enough to write back and suggested that we make him an Instagram account which I thought was a great idea. I also thought it could be a great outlet to share some positive vibes, wellness tips, and mental health awareness online too. So, if you need a daily/weekly dose of cuteness and few thoughts on wellness follow mcconkeythetherapydog on Instagram.





If you are lucky enough to have a four legged friend in your life snuggle up, let them show you the beauty of life, and go outside and play because as they know better than anyone….. it is good for you!

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Fernie, Elk Valley, and Southern Alberta

tyla@alpinepathwayspsychology.com

1-250-423-8656

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© 2020 Tyla Charbonneau, PhD., R. Psych