The School Therapy Dogs, Freddie, Oscar and Topsy, are trained dogs who are of impeccable temperament and have undergone rigorous assessment by a qualified animal behaviourist to clarify that they are competent and safe to work in the school environment. The dogs have current health certification, public liability insurance and to reduce the possibility of allergic reactions are “hypoallergenic” non-shedding breeds.
They are in attendance at school most days. They are owned by members of the school staff and are an integral part of the school teaching team and are highly valued by the school and the children.
What are the goals of our therapy dog program in New Park High School?
Here is a summary of the areas where the use of therapy dogs in a school setting can contribute significantly and help to achieve important goals in student development:
• Dogs can assist staff working with students who have anger management issues, bullying behaviour and other anti-social conduct.
GOAL: Increase empathy/compassion.
• Dogs can assist staff with students who are victims of bullying and related behaviours.
GOAL: Decrease retaliatory violence and improve self-esteem.
• Dogs can assist staff with students who are socially disconnected from the mainstream student body.
GOAL: Help the student stay connected with social networks.
• Dogs can help in the reduction of stress and anxiety among children in social settings that are stressful:
GOAL: Reduce anxiety levels and help children to decompress after traumatic circumstances.