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How Dogs Can Help Owners Overcome Drug Addiction

How Dogs Can Help Owners Overcome Drug Addiction

Man's best friends have long followed their owners through hard times and stormy weather — and now, even into rehab.

Germany's Schloss Tessin center is the first of its kind in the country and integrates pooches as part of the therapeutical process, Die Welt reports.

The center has even been adapted to accommodate its four-legged guests. In the patients' rooms, for example, the beds are too high for the dogs to jump onto so special sleeping areas were constructed underneath for them. At the moment there are 47 patients and 25 dogs at the center.

Psychiatrist and head doctor at Schloss Tessin Alf Kroker sees big advantages in using the bonds patients have to their dogs in therapy. "Many addicts have broken off all social contact," he told Die Welt. "The central focus of their life became consuming drugs — everything revolved around getting hold of heroin, cocaine, hash, crystal meth or other substances. So, relationships with family and friends went by the wayside and the connection to their dog is often the only relationship that survives."

He adds that many addicts would refuse treatment if it meant being away from their beloved pet. "The animal is trusted unconditionally, it’s like their child, but is also a competent protector," says Kroker.

Other experts have reacted positively to the center's new canine policy. "Animals can give structure to the day and the patient is cast in a positive role as carer," says Ingrid Stephan, who heads the Institute for Social Learning with Animals in Lindwedel near Hannover.

Photo: emma.kate

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How WeChat Is Helping Bhutan's Disappearing Languages Find A New Voice

Phd candidate Tashi Dema, from the University of New England, discusses how social media apps, particularly WeChat, are helping to preserve local Bhutanese languages without a written alphabet. Dema argues that preservation of these languages has far-reaching benefits for the small Himalayan country's rich culture and tradition.

A monk in red performing while a sillouhet of a monk is being illuminated by their phone.

Monk performing while a sillouheted monk is on their phone

Source: Caterina Sanders/Unsplash
Tashi Dema

THIMPHU — Dechen, 40, grew up in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Her native language was Mangdip, also known as Nyenkha, as her parents are originally from central Bhutan. She went to schools in the city, where the curriculum was predominantly taught in Dzongkha, the national language, and English.

In Dechen’s house, everyone spoke Dzongkha. She only spoke her mother tongue when she had guests from her village, who could not understand Dzongkha and during her occasional visits to her village nestled in the mountains. Her mother tongue knowledge was limited.

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However, things have now changed.

With 90% of Bhutanese people using social media and social media penetrating all remotes areas in Bhutan, Dechen’s relatives in remote villages are connected on WeChat.

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