When clients come to The CEDRIC Centre, an eating disorder counselling centre in Victoria , BC , the first creature to greet them is invariably a small black and white dog named Runkie. Amongst The Centre’s clientele, Runkie is well known for his affectionate nature, and many find his presence a major draw during their recovery from an eating disorder.Michelle Morand, founder and director of The Cedric Centre says, “For most people with eating disorders, depression is a key component. And while it’s well documented that companion animals positively impact depression, there haven’t been any formal studies conducted about companion animals and eating disorders, but the connection seems obvious to us here at The Centre. Clients coming here can feel very vulnerable, whether they’re new clients, or in the middle of working on some pretty big pieces. But Runkie helps people relax, his presence creates a sense of safety.”
Morand explains Runkie’s role, “Clients can choose to make Runkie as much or as little a part of their process as they feel comfortable with. He can provide a warm, soothing presence in sessions, or just be there for a visit before and after.”
So far, The Centre has received nothing but extremely positive feedback about Runkie. “His presence adds to the welcoming environment we strive to create.” Runkie helps people open up. He gives new clients a common interest and a focus for conversation. “He doesn’t care how you look, how much you weigh, or why you’re here. He just wants to be your friend,” Morand says. “And that kind of unconditional love is a powerful part of recovery.”
The CEDRIC, (Community Eating Disorder and Related Issues Counselling), Centre specializes in the treatment of clinical eating disorders, sub-clinical disordered eating patterns, and related issues such as anxiety, depression, and distorted body image. Their counselors provide bodywork, group, and individual counselling, as well as community outreach presentations for schools, educators, and health professionals. All of The CEDRIC Centre’s counsellors have long standing recovery from an eating disorder, and are proud to have facilitated the recovery of hundreds of men and women in Victoria , BC and beyond.