At eleven months old, Karma is Marian University’s youngest employee. She’s probably the fastest, too. You might see her running around the fountain or taking walks with Keirsten Roath, MSW, LCSW, counselor in the Counseling and Consultation Services office. She loves to be outside. When she’s not outside, you can find her in the counseling and consultation services office, where she greets students and shadows Roath. She is a therapy dog-in-training.
“She already seems to have a sense,” Roath said. “I’ve watched her be very gentle with students. When we have very distressed students, she’ll go over and kind of lean up against them.”
When Roath saw the reaction students had to Love on a Leash (a nonprofit that brings therapy dogs to campus around stressful times like finals), she considered how great it would be to have a full-time therapy dog for the university. She and Marla Smith, Ph.D., HSPP, director of counseling services, started researching therapy dogs and eventually landed on the hypoallergenic and absolutely adorable Labradoodle. Karma started coming to work with Roath in June of last year and spends two to three days a week on campus. Once she’s out of her puppyhood, she’ll move into being here five days a week.
Roath has already seen an impact in having Karma on campus.
“The students really love her and really gravitate toward her,” Roath said. “And she’s such a benefit to our office. We tend to deal with a lot of heavy stuff here and she offers some comfort and levity.”
Q & A with Karma and Keirsten Roath
Q: What’s her favorite treat?
A: She likes sweet potatoes. I’ll take a baked sweet potato, cut it into chunks, and freeze them. But, she likes almost anything, which has made her very easy to train. She’s very food motivated. She even ate cauliflower the other day and if I leave an apple on my desk, she steals it and eats it, core and all.
Q: What’s her favorite pastime?
A: She loves being outside and she loves a tennis ball.
Q: If we see her on campus, how should we approach her?
A: She loves attention. Students always want to pet her and talk to her and she really enjoys it. Of course, always ask permission to pet her.
Q: What should people know about the counseling center?
A: We offer counseling services for students and we’re open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. They can call to make an appointment or just walk in. We can help with a wide variety of student’s struggles, including: depression, anxiety, homesickness, academic stress, relationship issues, and family issues. It’s a nice place to come and have someone to talk with. We’re confidential and free. And Karma is a bonus!
Q: How can we keep up with Karma?
A: She’s on Instagram @Karma_Korner.