Therapy Dog Lifting Spirits at Lakeshore Technical College




“Dog days” has a new definition for students and staff at Lakeshore Technical College. They are now the Mondays that Elliot, a black Lab therapy dog, visits campus from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Elliot belongs to Dr. Julie Konik, psychology instructor at Lakeshore Technical College, and her wife, Christine Smith. Elliot was one of two dogs the couple adopted from a rescue organization in 2019. The idea for bringing a dog to campus for therapy purposes came to Konik in spring 2021.

Equipped with sample policies from colleges offering pet therapy and scientific data showing dogs can alleviate stress and improve mental well-being for students, Konik met with Lakeshore President Dr. Paul Carlsen. He liked the idea and brought it to Lakeshore’s leadership team, which gave approval for Konik to pursue the effort. 

“Having therapy dog visits on campus is a unique way to help students and staff get a break from the stressors they may be facing in their lives,” said Carlsen. “When Julie shared the concept of having a therapy dog on campus, I could tell she was not only passionate about it, but also educated regarding the real benefits this could bring to our campus.”

Elliot became certified through the Alliance of Therapy Dogs over the summer of 2021 and began visiting campus the week before students arrived for that fall semester. This gave him the opportunity to become acclimated to the college by visiting with a limited number of staff, who warmly welcomed him.

In addition to improving the mental well-being of students and staff, Konik says Elliot has helped many of the regular visitors get to know one another. “This effort is helping build relationships, something wonderful that is lasting beyond the Monday visits,” she says.

For information about Lakeshore and additional student support services, visit

Students and staff can visit with Elliot, the therapy dog who visits Lakeshore Technical College’s Cleveland campus.
Students and staff can visit with Elliot, the therapy dog who visits Lakeshore Technical College’s Cleveland campus.


About Lakeshore Technical College

Lakeshore Technical College is a comprehensive community and technical college educating more than 9,000 students annually. Students enroll at Lakeshore to master real-world, employable career skills and start their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. Lakeshore faculty and staff are focused on providing each student an individualized learning experience.
Lakeshore Technical College is a nationally recognized two-year college. The college was ranked #2 in the nation by Washington Monthly, #17 in the nation by Forbes, #20 in the nation by, a top-150 two-year college by the Aspen Institute, a top 10 Bellwether Award finalist five out of the last six years, and named the 2021 Large Business/Industry of the Year by the Chamber of Manitowoc County.
Approximately 800 students graduate from Lakeshore each year, and associate degree graduates report earning a median salary of $59,899 within six months of graduating. In addition to the Cleveland campus, Lakeshore educates students at learning campuses in downtown Manitowoc and downtown Sheboygan. Classes are also offered at additional sites throughout the district. Visit Lakeshore at