International OCD Foundation to Host 3rd Annual Walk for OCD Awareness in Boston with 2 Dogs at the Helm

BOSTON, May 18, 2015 —  The International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) is set to launch the 3rd annual 1 Million Steps 4 OCD Walk on June 6, 2015 at Jamaica Pond with a pair of furry friends leading the way.

Henry and Izzie, both Australian shepherd therapy dogs, will serve as this year’s Walk grand marshals, along with their human handler, Perrie Merlin, a family therapist at McLean Hospital’s OCD Institute. They will be joining hundreds of walkers to raise awareness of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and related disorders at the Walk in Boston. While “OCD” has taken on a trivial meaning in pop culture, the reality of the disorder is far different from the stereotypes seen on TV.

“I am so proud to be part of the Walk and honored to share grand marshal duties with Henry and Izzie,” says Merlin. “I look forward to the laughs, the beautiful scenery, making memories, and giving an important voice to this often dismissed disorder.”

Henry and Izzie may be the world’s first OCD therapy dogs, and we are thrilled that they will be lending their furry presence to the Walk. The therapy dogs usually bring an instant smile to people’s faces, but more importantly, they also help to reach the children, adults, and families that need extra support doing OCD treatment.

“OCD affects 1 in 100 adults, but it is still little understood in the general public,” explains Jeff Szymanski, PhD, executive director of the IOCDF. “This walk is about building a community of support — and making sure people know how to access the resources and support they need.”

Resources like Henry and Izzie.

Anyone interested in joining the IOCDF for the 1 Million Steps for OCD Walk on June 6 can visit to learn more.


Photos available.

Henry, Izzie and Perrie Merlin are also available for media appearances as requested. 

About the International OCD Foundation
The International OCD Foundation is a donor-supported nonprofit organization, working to increase access to effective treatment, end the stigma associated with mental health issues, and foster a community for those affected by OCD and the professionals who treat them. Based in Boston, the IOCDF has affiliates in 25 states and territories, as well as 9 Global Partners. The IOCDF was founded as the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation in 1986. Now in its 27th year, the organization has an over $1.5 million annual operating budget, has granted millions of dollars for OCD research, and is a vital resource for the estimated 1 in 100 individuals with OCD around the world. For more information, visit

For more information, contact:

Jeff Smith,
IOCDF Director of Development
Phone: 617-973-5801
Email: jsmith @