Therapy dogs have become very popular and there has been a dramatic increase in them over the years. In the past, therapy dogs were mainly used with patients in hospitals and seniors living in nursing homes. In recent years, they started to utilize the canines in schools to work with students in many different ways. Schools work with therapy dog specialists to come up with different ways that they may assist within your buildings. Below are some ways that they have been used around schools throughout the country.
Therapy dogs welcome students. The presence of a therapy dog can be calming for children that are afraid of school. Simply having the canine there allows many to jump into the academic day with less stress. Dogs also sense when children are upset and able to head over to them. Simply petting a dog and seeing they care will often defuse kids who may be off to a rough start. Dogs can be brought to a student to assist if needed, and it is safe for all involved.
Speech, language, and reading canine buddies. Speech and language pathologists often have a hard time getting kids to come out of their shell. The same happens to kids who are receiving help in literacy. They may be too shy to talk and read aloud. Therapy dogs are not judgmental and listen to anything and everything the kids have to say. The dogs will simply sit with their human buddy and listen to them practice their skills.
Sensory room friend. Many schools have rooms that are used for student who need a calm and soothing place. These sensory rooms are filled with soothing lights and sounds. They have places for students to curl up and gather needed sensory or to escape the overload from classrooms. These locations are also a great place for therapy dogs. Within these spaces, the dog may sit and wait to help and comfort a child. Petting the dog will also be soothing to them, and a bonus is they have someone who will listen to their every word.
Schools which are considering a therapy dog need to think outside of the box at ways they can use the dogs within their individual school. A therapy dog in San Diego recently went above and beyond with helping students there. The dog refused to drink water at the school. The teacher in that room looked closer and noticed something wasn’t right. The water was later tested and had a high lead content.
Dogs clearly are helpful in more than one way when you bring them into your school as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs may assist children and also spot health dangers which humans could miss.