At Phoenix House Academy in San Diego, we are celebrating the one-year anniversary of Luna, the Therapy Corgi who joined our staff in December 2012. Luna is now a certified therapy dog through Love on a Leash; her warm, loving demeanor brings smiles to our clients’ faces every day.
Luna, along with her owner (our Bilingual Family Therapist Krystle Briese), works with our teens in individual, family, and group therapy sessions as well as during crisis situations. She’s also happy to be on hand for a snuggle when clients – and sometimes staff – are feeling blue. Around Luna, even the toughest kids let their guard down and relax. She has become a dedicated “staff” member at our Academy.
In addition to Krystle and Luna, there are many creative and talented individuals hard at work this holiday season at Phoenix House California. I have been so impressed with how staff members have incorporated their various passions into the clinical work they do–whether that passion is animals, art, music, writing, food, sports, yoga, meditation, woodworking, or gardening. Because of them, many of our clients are now aiming for careers as veterinarians, musicians, writers, chefs, woodworkers, or master gardeners. Our staff members find joy in these activities, and they pass that along to our clients. They understand that hard work and education are necessary to gain expertise, and they exemplify ways to live well and find enjoyment without drugs and alcohol. Most importantly, our staff members give our clients hope; they teach them to make positive choices and follow their dreams.
I want to thank Luna for making our kids smile when they feel lonely–but more importantly, I want to thank the staff at Phoenix House Academy in San Diego and across California for their dedication, talent, and love. I am honored to work with you!
Elizabeth Urquhart, Senior Director of Phoenix House San Diego