What will you get when you combine a hockey legend, a doctor, and a dog? Well, the makings of a new recovery program, of course.
Through his non-profit, Kevin Stevens has been making a difference in the lives of people in recovery since 2018. But now that he’s combined the experience of an addiction doctor with the healing effects of dogs, they’ve created a whole new recovery program that’s the first of its kind.
Since he played for the Boston Bruins, the New York Rangers, and the Pittsburgh Penguins during the team’s Stanley Cup championship wins in 1991 and 1992, Kevin Stevens is a well-known hockey legend. But his athleticism on the ice wasn’t the only reason he earned himself attention over the years. It was well-publicized that Kevin struggled with substance abuse and addiction.
However, it was back in 2017 that he swore he was going to turn his life around, and he certainly has. Since 2018, Kevin has been helping people through Power Forward, his non-profit whose mission is to end the stigma of addiction through education, early intervention, sober living scholarships, and championing the achievements of those in recovery.
Now he has teamed up with Michael Hamrock, a primary care and addiction medicine doctor to bring a new, unique healing method to the table as an offering for people in addiction recovery.
“For the entirety of my practice, my patients have told me over and over again how much their pet dogs have improved their physical and mental health, so I thought we should add this to one of our offerings. I know this will help,” explained Doctor Hamrock.
Through their DOER (Dog Ownership Enhancing Recovery) program, a trained support dog will be sent to live with 12 men who are all living in a sober home in the Boston area. The first pup in the program is a Golden Retriever named Sawyer, and the day he met his new housemates was a joyous one.
“I believe meetings, medications, spiritual care and having a sponsor help with recovery. But dogs can provide safety, prevent loneliness, help you reestablish relationships, help you find purpose and value and offer unconditional love,” says Dr. Hamrock
This program is the first of its kind in the U.S, and they believe that offering their residents the chance to take care of something, and to be treated with unconditional love, will make a remarkable difference in their recovery.
Dogs can reduce stress, enhance mental health, help with accountability, create a caring environment, and fill the void of nurturing. Together, they are interested in seeing how service dogs might play a role in helping addicts stay in recovery.
Featured Image: powerforward25.com