Tiffany Livingston & Rowan
I am a counselor at the Cushing House which is a part of the Gavin Foundation and located in South Boston. The Cushing House is a 6-month program for girls ages 16-20 in early recovery from addiction. Working with me from 3-11 pm, Rowan brightens everyone's day- from greeting girls at the door when they come back from school/work to giving them a kiss before they go to sleep. Rowan is especially helpful in showing unconditional love in lonely or frustrating moments, after a challenging phone call or on a particularly difficult day. Showing and sharing emotions can be an extremely difficult task. Further, hidden feelings can become unbearable and can potentially lead to relapse. Consciously tolerating and working through these kinds of emotions can be done more comfortably and easily in the presence of our nonjudgmental and loving Rowan.
I know firsthand how helpful a dog can be in emotionally difficult and life changing times. In October 2006, I began my journey of recovery from drug addiction at 19-years old and spent 5 months in residential programs. At my first 30-day program, I met a Portuguese Water Dog named Elvis who came to spend time with us a few times per week. When I returned home from treatment, I convinced my parents to get a Portuguese Water Dog as an additional support for me in early recovery- which is typically a very bumpy road. I named him Ravi, which means “ecstatic” or “joyful” in French. For the next few years, Ravi kept me company on the couch while I finished my undergraduate degree online in the safety of my home. After a 12-step meeting each night, I had the opportunity to either go home to my parents’ house or to seek out old friends with who I used drugs. Night after night, I returned home to Ravi and achieved another day clean. He was by my side through undergrad, grad school, and was there to celebrate 5 years of recovery. In January 2012, Ravi suddenly passed away from an untreated medical condition.
Having Rowan in my life is amazing and he has picked up where Ravi left off in my own recovery. He comes to work with me everyday to support young women struggling with addiction in early recovery in the very same way Ravi was able to help me.