We are so lucky to have a therapy dog at Wright! Zen is in the building 2-3 times a week, typically Mondays and Fridays. He is a valued member of our staff.
Therapy Dogs in Schools:
Evidence has shown that therapy dogs can enhance children’s psychological development, improve social skills, and increase self-esteem. Dogs can also each responsibility, compassion, and respect for other living things. Therapy dogs can be used to calm fears, relieve anxiety, and teach skills. Here is a summary of potential benefits:
Physical - interaction with a furry friend reduces blood pressure, provides tactile stimulation, assists with pain management, gives motivation to move, walk and stimulates the senses.
Social - a visit with a dog provides a mutual topic for discussion, promotes greater self-esteem and well-being, and focused interaction with others.
Cognitive - companionship with a dog stimulates memory, problem solving, and game playing.
Emotional – an adorable four-legged visitor improves self-esteem, acceptance from others, and lifts mood.
School counselors are finding that the presence of a therapy dog can decrease anxiety and enable students to work through issues such as anger management and other social/emotional problems. Guided activities and group discussions help teach students how to handle interpersonal conflicts and develop constructive responses.
Zen is a 5 year old Labradoodle. He belongs to me (the counselor). Along with advanced obedience training, he has completed specialized training and has received his AKC Canine Good Citizen title and is certified through Therapy Dogs International. To receive his therapy dog certification, Zen’s obedience and temperament were carefully evaluated as well as skills and reactions to situations unique to the school environment.
The safety of our students comes first. We know that having a dog in school may be met with apprehension if your child has allergies or a fear of dogs. Please know that we are here to work with you if you have any concerns or questions. Zen is not at school every day. I will ensure Zen meets health, cleanliness, and grooming requirements at all times. Students with documented allergies will have limited exposure or no contact with the dog. Students with fears will also not have unwanted contact with the dog. However, some children may learn to overcome their fear of animals and with it, grow in respect and appreciation of them. Students will never be put in a situation where they must endure anxious or scared feelings due to the presence of the dog.
If you have any questions or concerns about Zen, please let us know by contacting me or Mrs. Hurlburt.