Should We Have a Therapy Dog in School?

A few weeks ago, nearly every student and teacher at Hanover High School was shocked when they saw a tiny, black goldendoodle puppy in the halls. Sophomore Siofra Carty, whose family breeds the pups, knows the joy they can bring so she asked Mr. Paquette if she could bring 8-week-old “Rosie” into school for a day. Whether a senior or freshman, tough athlete or sensitive artist, everyone was in awe and begged for a chance to hold the puppy. She was able to de-stress nearly the entire student body — and staff too. Having such a cute stress-reliever in the school made a lot of people think, can we have a therapy dog full-time?

If you’ve ever owned a puppy, you know the absurd amount of joy, happiness, and love they can bring into your life.  Dogs have the amazing ability to reduce stress, anxiety and loneliness, according to an article from Animal Planet.  Dogs also encourage exercise, improve cardiovascular health and boost your immune system. Some argue dogs help strengthen relationships, bringing strangers together or helping people break the ice.

In high school, where students and teachers are constantly stressing and dealing with tough assignments and life issues, a puppy would be a great source of happiness and love. Many colleges take advantage of animals’ calming effect during finals week, allowing their students to play with puppies to improve their moods and alleviate stress.

Sure, some people are worried about allergies, but that can be eased by bringing in certain breeds of dogs that have hair, not fur. Others fear the dogs may misbehave, but any therapy dog would have to go through rigorous training to ensure it has the right temperament for the job.

Dogs are full of all kinds of mental and physical health benefits– and we are in need! Colleges have found their pet-therapy programs to be very beneficial to their students, and even Rosie’s brief one-day visit to HHS has shown the same.

What do you guys think? Post your thoughts in the comments below.

 

2 thoughts on “Should We Have a Therapy Dog in School?”

  1. I’m all for it. The potential benefits outweigh the potential risks of allergy sufferers. I could be wrong, but I don’t believe people suffer from animal allergies to the extent that people suffer from food allergies. Accidental exposure to peanuts and/or latex can have potentially fatal consequences, but accidental exposure to pet dander? Maybe itchy watery eyes and some momentary discomfort, but that can be treated with antihistamines, right? Let’s hear from some people with animal allergies . . . I used to suffer from them myself, but I still exposed myself to animals all the time — their healing power is just too great to be ignored . . . 🙂 If colleges are doing it, and HHS is preparing students for college, then I think it’s only right for the occasional therapy pup to be in school. Full time would be ideal, but even part-time would be great. Nice article, Lauren!

    1. I also support it. When I got to hold Rosie, I was so calm and content. I saw so many students from different groups in the school have a similar reaction. I know it was a bit of a disruption that day, but that was due to the novelty.

      Maybe Teddy can get certified as a therapy dog to help out HHS! My Carly would be great at it too.

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