FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18, 2017
Contact: Ilene Greenfield
Director of Media Relations
973-278-5400, ext. 1-5122
BERKELEY COLLEGE WELCOMES NEW RESOURCE
Skyla, a 2-year-old rescue dog, will be trained as an emotional support animal
The Berkeley College Office of Military and Veterans Affairs (OMVA) has launched a new initiative in its support of student veterans. Skyla, a 2-year-old rescue dog, has joined the OMVA staff and will undergo training as an emotional support animal to assist veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and/or panic attacks as a result of their experiences while in military service.
“Some veterans develop post-traumatic stress disorder after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, such as military combat,” said Richard Robitaille, EdD, Associate Vice President, OMVA. “Having a trained service dog is another way the College can support veterans and their emotional needs.”
There are more than 550 student veterans enrolled at Berkeley College.
Service dogs are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. They are not “pets” or “mascots,” but are considered assistive aids equal under the law to a wheelchair or other device that assists a disabled person. Research shows that support animals can have a calming influence on veterans and can be trained to identify the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.
The OMVA has hired a professional dog trainer who specializes in the training and development of service dogs. Tami Pichardo, Director of Military and Veterans Affairs, has adopted Skyla and will act as her primary handler. Once trained, Skyla will participate in OMVA programs and activities, and will spend time with student veterans and veterans in the community.
“When Skyla was rescued from a kill shelter, she got a second chance at life,” Ms. Pichardo said. “Many of our student veterans are also looking for a second chance as they transition to civilian life. This is an opportunity for them to help each other.”
Skyla has begun preliminary obedience training and will visit Berkeley College campuses in New Jersey and New York to become acclimated and more socialized.
A leader in providing career-focused education since 1931, Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls more than 8,000 students – including more than 600 international students – in its Master, Baccalaureate, and Associate degree and Certificate programs. Students can study in more than 20 career fields. Berkeley College is comprised of the Larry L. Luing School of Business®, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Health Studies and the School of Liberal Arts. The School of Graduate Studies offers a Master of Business Administration degree in Management online and in Woodland Park, NJ.
Berkeley College has three New York campuses – Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and White Plains. In New Jersey there are five campuses – Dover, Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park. Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. For four consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans. The website address is www.BerkeleyCollege.edu.
- end -