Canine Therapy

“Canine Therapy uses dogs to promote health and healing.  Like other animals, dogs are accepting, comforting and non-judgmental, making them ideal therapy companions.”

At New Vision Wilderness, our canine therapy program uses Golden Retrievers very strategically to teach our students how to work on healthy relationships with the ultimate goal being transferable attachment.  Transferable attachment is practicing relationship tools with the canines and then transferring those skills learned to healthy human relationships.  The unconditional love and loyalty that canines provide make them the perfect animal to work with when practicing safe relationships.

When coming to New Vision Wilderness, students are gradually introduced into the canine program with the initial focus being on their own safety and self-care.  During this time they are encouraged to participate in canine activities and are able to interact daily.  Once students are ready, they are able to take on the role of canine caregiver.  As the canine caregiver, they are responsible for practicing our CASA model which stands for commitment, acceptance, security, and attunement.

Research suggests that through caring for and interacting with a dog, there can be many benefits, including:

  • Decreased stress
  • Increased physical activity and healthy play
  • Relief from anxiety and depression
  • Increased focus and attention through experiential learning
  • Improved communication and social skills
  • Learning appropriate ways to treat self and others
  • Unconditional love, affection, nurturing and empathy
  • Increased self-esteem and feelings of empowerment
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Elevated mood
  • Raised levels of oxytocin
  • Reduced loneliness and bigger sense of purpose
  • Setting and respecting boundaries
  • Motivation to stay in treatment and participate fully in therapy

-CRC Health Group

Meet the Team

Moose Canine Companion

Echo Canine Companion

Nova Canine Companion

Tucker Canine Companion

Kingston Canine Companion

Athena Canine Companion


Position: Canine Companion
Moose was born on June 29, 2017 and came to New Vision Wilderness – Wisconsin with his brother, River. He’s still learning how to be comfortable with new people and scary noises in the woods, but the students he works with help him build his confidence everyday! Moose will let you know when he wants to play by carrying his leash around and getting excited! As much as he loves to run and play, he also LOVES to snuggle up to students! Moose provides the students with a safe and welcoming space which allows them to open up to working on their relationships and is a great addition to our program!


Position: Canine Companion

Echo was born on November 12, 2016 at Calo Lake Ozark in Missouri. He has been a Wilderness Canine at New Vision Wilderness – Bend since May of 2018. Echo leaps out his tent to start each day and then says hello to each group member. All of that attention can wear him out quickly and manifests as him taking many naps throughout the day. He’s learning how to dig efficiently with his paws and uses his snout to help out. Echo prefers his food hydrated and will bury it if it’s served dry. He likes to army crawl around camp and pick up random sticks to chew on which entertains the students that he is working with. Echo is also the brother of Nova, another NVW Canine; born in the same litter.


Position: Canine Companion

Nova was born on November 12, 2016 under the Supermoon which is where his astronomical name comes from, “Supernova.” He is a great pup in the woods with his mellow, easy-going personality.  He loves working with the students and will do anything for a treat or simply some play time.  His presence is known in his group and he brings a sense of both fun and safety to the students.


Position: Canine Companion

Tucker is an amazing, energetic golden retriever at about 3.5 years of age.  He is not our biggest canine, but he sure has strength.  All of his energy makes him the perfect fit for a high energy group in our Oregon location.  Tucker loves to chase and catch snowballs during the winter months and then lay close to the fire to curl up for a nap.  Tucker is great at his job in both challenging and comforting the students in need.


Position: Canine Companion

Kingston was born in October of 2014 and has been with New Vision Wilderness since September of 2015.  He has worked in many of our groups, starting out in Wisconsin then transitioning out to our Oregon branch.  He is our most experienced wilderness canine and has worked hard on all of his relationships with our students.  He tends to put in as much effort as the caregiver who is working with him.  He also gives great feedback with his body language that can be pointed out by our staff.  This is great substance for metaphors in everyday life.  Kingston really enjoys his play time when he is able to run free and begging for people snacks is another favorite hobby.  Thank you Kingston for teaching valuable lessons while also being a great canine companion in the woods.  Keep it up!!


Position: Canine Companion

Athena has been a member of the North Woods crew in Wisconsin since May 2017 and came to us after working at Calo’s young adult program in Virginia. Athena is a sweetheart and has a way of smiling when greeting students and staff members. While she is sweet and loves to cuddle, Athena is also strong-willed and keeps our students on their toes trying to figure out her needs and how to best get all of her energy out. Athena has a lot of love to share with the students in the woods and is a great fit for the team!