Ciciban Kindergarten in Velika Gorica and the Havanese Therapy Dogs Program in Croatia

Dear Mrs. Spilchuk, My name is Ana Karažija and I work as a psychologist in Ciciban Kindergarten in Velika Gorica. In agreement with Prof Renata Fridrih, I decided to write you and tell you about our experiences with therapy dogs.

This year in Ciciban Kindergarten, we begin with new challenges in working with preschool children. Every Thursday, Professor Renata Fridrih brings Evie and Aya, two therapy dogs into our kindergarten.

Evie and Aya lift up the children’s spirits and teach them life lessons about kindness and empathy. Their calming presence distills stressful situations and encourages communication. Interaction with furry friends reduces anxiety and lifts the mood, often provoking laughter. The dogs are patient with all of the children who interact with them. Their presence sparks the children’s curiosity.

Their purpose is to bring happiness, comfort, and smiles and they have succeeded! Children love interacting with the dogs. This is what the children said about Evie and Aya:

Roman: “I like when Evie and Aya come because I can pet them!“ Luka: “It felt very strange when I pet them. I was afraid that they would bite me, but then I realized they aren't dangerous and now I like petting them!“ Franka: “It feels very nice when Evie and Aya come because we are drawing them!“

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