Ellie the Wellness Dog
Written by Heidi Jones on April 13, 2021
Being a college student is already stressful, but being a college student during a pandemic has proven to be a whole new challenge on its own. Despite the extra stress, Kansas Wesleyan University is doing its best to help its students survive these strange times. The university is not just focusing on the students’ physical health but their mental health as well. During the coronavirus pandemic, students are less likely able to return home and are restricted from doing other activities due to the risk of exposure. However, Kansas Wesleyan offers different resources in order to help students unwind and take a mental break. The campus has already offered the help of Carly Tinkler who works with the Domestic Violence Association of Central Kansas and can be found in the Student Development office and added Let’s Talk, an opportunity to talk with Shelby Reep, a doctoral intern from Veridian Behavioral Health. However, there is a new addition to the office: Ellie. Ellie the Wellness Dog has recently joined the staff at Kansas Wesleyan. Her handler, Colton Spresser, shared with me answers to questions students may have about his canine co-worker.
Born on November 17, Ellie is a mini goldendoodle. Goldendoodles are hypoallergenic, so they are ideal dogs to have as wellness dogs in schools and at universities. According to Spresser, Ellie will be enrolled into first grade at MuttSchool where she will go through training. He has made the decision to wait until she is a little older because Ellie would have been the youngest in her puppy class.
The administers and staff at Kansas Wesleyan University want it to be a top tier university. After noticing a trend in dogs becoming a part of the staff at universities, the decision was made to look into finding a wellness dog. The purpose of wellness dogs is to help students who are feeling stressed out, homesick, or just need to hug a puppy. Dogs have been known to help people with mental health, and with losing fall and spring break, students have been unable to go back home to unwind and relax. That is when Ellie steps “pup.” Colton Spresser adds that he believes Ellie will help tie the campus together. That, and she is cute, everyone loves her, and she makes people smile. Spresser also says that he really sees no cons to having Ellie on campus. In fact, some students only have positive things to say about Ellie.
“That’s my goddaughter!” says Brenna Rich. “She’s literally the best! Definitely brings a smile to my face every time I see her! She helps relieve my stress, and her and I have such a good bond!”
Spresser says that Ellie will always be available on campus. Really, Spresser says, she has her own office down in Student Development. It is pretty easy to tell which is hers since there is only one office blocked off by a puppy gate. Ellie is available for anyone who needs her: students and staff. Colton Spresser explains that there are two ways a person can see her. If a person checks his or her KWU email, he or she can search for the Ellie announcement email. Within that email is a link to sign up for a specific time slot to hang out with Ellie. This signup is for when you want to spend 30 minutes with her. Another way to see Ellie is to simply stop by Student Development. This may be a shorter visit, but Ellie is definitely worth seeing.