When Cindy Edins’s dog Ally got out of her fenced yard in Madison County on Memorial Day weekend and was hit by a car, Edins was devastated.
And it wasn’t only because Ally is a beloved pet, she is also Edins’ partner in providing therapy to troubled and mentally ill children and adults through her work with the EPIC (Early Psychosis Intervention Collaborative) program at Advantage Behavioral Health Services in Athens.
Ally ended up losing a front leg and very nearly her life, but she pulled through and these days is slowly recuperating and getting back to seeing “her” patients with Edins, usually at the patient’s home.
“We are a community-based program, so we generally go where they are,” Edins said. As Edins companion on these visits, it’s Ally’s job to “assess” the patient in her own way and then provide her brand of help. Patients are screened to see if they like dogs and if so, if they’d like to meet Ally.
“Ally has an amazing sense of empathy with people,” Edins said of these visits.
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