How the Bears make their mark

The Paw Print

Therapy Dogs at NHS?

huntington.edu

huntington.edu

It is said that a dog is man’s best friend.  Not only can they be a friendly companion, but these animals can be of great help to young students in many schools.  

Dogs can be trained and certified as a therapy dog.  Recently, more schools are starting to introduce this program to the education environment and I believe Norwalk High School should be one of them.

A therapy dog is a certified canine that has gone through special training in order to provide affection, comfort, and relaxation to many people in schools, hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, retirement homes and many more.  Studies show that having interactions with therapy dogs or any animal can reduce stress.  Having the comfort of a dog by one’s side just for ten minutes can take away any of the negativity that might be sitting on that person’s shoulders.  

Therapy dogs seem to be more commonly found in elementary schools with younger children, however this program could be very beneficial to students in high school.  Whether parents or teachers realize it, students can be under lots of stress during their four years of high school with the homework load, projects, social issues, college, and even home life.  Therapy dogs can contribute to physical, social, emotional, and even cognitive development.

Interaction with these dogs can reduce blood pressure which helps out with the decrease in stress.  Not only that but they provide a positive topic of discussion and make school a more comforting environment.  A dog does not judge so it can bring more self esteem and acceptance to students.  This can be a big factor because one’s high school experience can be full of judgmental people who make it hard to fit in.  Being around these animals can motivate a student to move, and play with them.  This can lead to the use of one’s imagination and open up their minds in the classroom.

Giancarla Truitt, a teacher in our Social Studies Department here at NHS currently has a dog of her own being trained in the program.  The hypoallergenic Black Russian Terrier, Dino, is currently training in a two session program and each session is ten weeks long.  “I think the whole dynamics of the classroom would change.  Something like that in a classroom would help you focus,” said Mrs. Truitt.  When asked if she would bring her dog to the classroom, she immediately responded, “Absolutely.  I’m working with an administrator right now and we are hoping Dino will pass.”

Even though every situation has its cons,  a therapy dog program is more efficient and beneficial than damaging.  These furry companions can be a great help and can easily become a best friend in a time of need.  Bringing a therapy dog program to NHS would be a great addition to our school environment.

 

    

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How the Bears make their mark
Therapy Dogs at NHS?