We are so lucky to have two facility dogs that come to school, almost every day. Did you know that the research shows therapy dogs can reduce stress physiologically (cortisol levels) and increase attachment responses that trigger oxytocin – a hormone that increases trust in humans.
The benefits of having therapy dogs in the classroom include:
Physical benefits. Interaction with therapy dogs has been shown to reduce blood pressure, provide physical stimulation and assist with pain management.
Social benefits. A visiting therapy dog promotes greater self-esteem and focused interaction with other students and teachers.
Cognitive benefits. It has been empirically proven that therapy dogs stimulate memory and problem-solving skills.
Emotional and mental health benefits. A recent national survey of adolescent mental health found that about 8 to 10 percent of teens ages 13 to 18 have an anxiety disorder. A therapy dog can lift moods in the classroom, often provoking laughter. The therapy dog is also there to offer friendship and a shoulder to lean on for students. https://www.therapydogs.com/therapy-dogs-classrooms-campuses/
Mocha is a registered therapy dog that was trained through Paws-4-Autism. He spends most of his day with the High School Students because he lives with Mrs. Langhus. Students throughout the building can take breaks with Mocha when they are feeling overwhelmed or having big feelings.
Shaggy is a registered Emotional Support Animal that lives with Dr. Kalis. He spends a lot of his day in her office, but students often come and take breaks with him, take him on walks when they need a little fresh air or just need a little time with someone who listens really well.