Hazel Park Schools Therapy Dogs
Dear Hazel Park Family,
Hazel Park Schools is starting a therapy dog program. Therapy dogs are not the same thing as service animals. Therapy dogs are trained with their owner to provide emotional support for staff and students alike. Research has shown that therapy dogs support psychological and academic growth while increasing social skills and self-esteem in adolescents.
Dr. Amy Kruppe and her German Shepherd, Rocky, will be our first therapy dog to join our team. Dr. Kruppe and Rocky have gone through extensive training to prepare Rocky to be a therapy dog. Rocky is also up-to-date on all of his shots and will stay with Dr. Kruppe the entire time he is on campus and accompany her on visits to classrooms on a regular basis to promote social-emotional wellness and communication skills.
Including social-emotional support dogs as part of our schools was an initiative that Hazel Park Schools has explored for several months.
Therapy dogs provide students with a friend and a safe place to come to every day. They create a comfortable, happy, and judgment-free environment. Studies show that children’s reading abilities improve with the use of therapy dogs. Changes in attitudes toward reading, reading skill levels, schoolwork, attitudes toward homework, attendance, and changes in self-esteem and self-confidence can be seen by involving a therapy dog in a school. Therapy dogs have also been known to decrease levels of anxiety.
We are so excited to introduce our canine buddies to help improve the emotional, social, and academic well-being of our school communities.
Hazel Park Schools Therapy Dog Handbook
Benefits Of Therapy Dogs
* Therapy dogs enhance relationships with peers and teachers due to experiencing trust and unconditional love from a therapy dog. This helps students learn how to express their feelings and enter into more trusting relationships.
* Increases in:
* School attendance
* Positive moods
* Reading confidence
* Positive changes towards learning and improved motivation.
* Decreases depression and anxiety behaviors resulting in improved learning outcomes.
* Eases social isolation and helps children learn social skills.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of a Dog Therapy program?
These dogs will be essential to giving children a friend and a safe place to come to every day. Therapy dogs create a safe, comfortable, happy, and judgmental-free classroom environment. These dogs also have the power to improve students’ reading levels and overall attendance. Many studies have been done to analyze how children’s reading abilities improve with the use of therapy dogs. Changes in attitudes toward reading, reading skill levels, schoolwork, attitudes toward homework, attendance, and changes in self-esteem or self-confidence can be seen just by involving a dog in the classroom.
What do you do if someone in the building is afraid of dogs?
An effort will be made to help the student and/or staff member to overcome their fears in a time-sensitive and empathetic manner. The dog will be kept away from the student/staff until it is mutually agreed upon.
Dogs are not for everyone. What about those of us who don’t like dogs?
We will never make a child do something that makes them uncomfortable. It will be important that families reach out to their child's teacher and principal with any concerns that they may have about their child with the dog so that we can work with families on a case-by-case basis.
Can we feed the dog any snacks/treats at school?
No, the dog is not allowed to eat snacks/treats at school because this will cause him/her to have weight issues and interfere with him/her following learned directives.