Teesside University’s Brengle awarded honorary ‘dogtorate’
Golden retriever Brengle has been awarded an ‘Honorary Dogtorate’ by Teesside University for his unwavering services to student mental health and wellbeing.
The award, created to mark University Mental Health Day on Thursday 9 March, was awarded to therapy dog Brengle in recognition of the positive impact he has had on his regular visits to the university campus.
Brengle has weekly visits to the university with his owner, Middlesbrough Salvation Army church leader Captain Naomi Kelly, as part of the university’s faith and reflection service.
His friendly demeanour helps break the ice and encourages students to engage with the faith and reflection service, while his calm presence provides reassurance in difficult and stressful situations. He has previously helped students suffering bereavement, and supported students as they came out of exams.
Captain Kelly said: “We get a very positive response from all the people Brengle has been in contact with. Over the time he’s been at Teesside University, there’s been so many students saying how their mental health has been boosted and how they’ve felt the love from him.
“A lot of people who come to see Brengle might start off from a place of stress and by the time they leave, they’re laughing and joking and talking about how relaxed they feel. He shows unconditional love to everybody he meets. He loves getting cuddles and loves people chatting to him. They’re great qualities for a therapy dog.
“It’s a great honour to receive this award and we’re delighted that the University is recognising the good work that Brengle has done and the support he has given across the campus.”
Brengle’s visits to the university are part of a range of support structures offered by Teesside to improve student mental wellbeing.
Sarah Bishop, Assistant Director (Culture, Community and International) of Student and Library Services at Teesside University, who presented Brengle with his award, said: “Often students are away from home for the first time, sometimes in a foreign country, and could be dealing with things like exam pressures, money issues or relationship breakdown. It is vital, therefore, that students know that the University is there to help them and can offer support.
“Brengle does a fantastic job, encouraging people to engage with our support services and providing them with love and reassurance. When you see him walking around campus, you see people point and smile, they enjoy him being here.
“We’re delighted to create this special honour for him, he’s a worthy recipient.”
University Mental Health Day is organised by Student Minds, the UK’s student mental health charity, and works to ensure that no student is held back by their mental health.