MP's Professional Therapy Dogs
THERAPY DOGS IN THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
The MPCSD's elementary schools have two therapy dogs to be used at both elementary schools. Numerous research studies and evidence have validated the benefits of animal-assisted therapy, in particular that of therapy dogs. Both elementary schools plan to use the therapy dogs to enhance children’s psychological development, improve social skills, and increase self-esteem, as well as to teach responsibility, compassion, and respect for other living things. Dogs in the classroom can be used to calm fears, relieve anxiety, and teach skills. We will utilize the dogs to assist with students of all backgrounds that need the skills previously mentioned. Our dogs will provide a strong foundation for children to love school and learning and will benefit the greater community as a whole.
As we learn more about how to integrate the therapy dogs into our student populations and services provided, students will be taught expectations for interacting with the therapy dogs. First and foremost, all students must ask the therapy dog’s handler for permission to pet the therapy dog. This “permission to approach” is designed to protect both students and pets. The therapy dog handlers will work diligently to train all students on how to benefit from the services of a therapy dog in our schools. It is our intention that therapy dogs will be utilized in many different ways to support all students in a variety of ways.