Middlesbrough therapy dog Brengle gets new chaplaincy role
published on 2 Oct 2023
A new ‘round of a-paws’ to Salvation Army therapy dog Brengle who has taken up a new appointment with his owner Captain Naomi Kelly to support students at Middlesbrough College.
Middlesbrough Salvation Army’s church officer Naomi has been named official chaplain for the college, providing pastoral and spiritual guidance to students and staff. As part of the faith service, Golden Retriever Brengle will also be on hand to help students by offering cuddles and creating a warm environment for them to open up and talk to Naomi.
Naomi and Brengle already offer a chaplaincy service at Teesside University in the town, for which Brengle was awarded an honorary ‘dog-torate’ earlier this year and have been visiting Middlesbrough College for three years as guests.
Naomi, who recently welcomed Cocker Spaniel puppy Bonnie to the family who will also train as a therapy dog, said: “Chaplaincy is an opportunity for students and staff to come and talk to me about anything. They might have questions about faith, or it might be something completely unrelated to faith. You don’t need to be religious to talk to a chaplain as we are there to be a listening ear and to help people feel valued.
“Appointments can include Brengle. Sometimes people who are shy of talking to humans might want to come along and cuddle the dog instead. Brengle always gets a warm welcome and has become such a vital part of ministry, opening up so many doors for The Salvation Army to support people and start conversations.
“He helps people to feel relaxed, to open up and talk about stress, mental health, faith, or anything that may be bothering them. There is no topic too big or small. Students might have had a bereavement, are struggling with exam stress, relationship issues. Chaplaincy is designed to be non-judgemental, accessible and friendly.”
Brengle can also be found supporting visitors to Middlesbrough Salvation Army in Southfield Road which offers a range of support services for the community including hot food support, an economy shop, debt advice, meet up groups as well as worship on a Sunday.
For more information on Brengle and Bonnie search for Brengletherapydog on Facebook.