Sign In

Therapy Dog Helps Students With Stress

May 27, 2020

There’s a new face walking the halls at St. Xavier High School.

He’s about two feet tall, yellow and covered in fur.

The all-boys Catholic school has been buzzing with excitement to welcome Evan.

The 2-year-old golden retriever is the school’s new therapy dog.

“Seeing him in the hallway brings a smile to our faces and something to look forward to during the school day,” said senior Daniel Baptist.

Along with a few counselros, Jason Ahlers, asst. principal for student services, spent two weeks in training before Evan was introduced to the school last Monday.

“We have to remember that Evan is a working dog and when he has his working gear on, he wears a bandanna that says Circle Tail and has his name, that he’s treated one way. He’s not a pet here,” said Ahlers.

The school said it wants to support the health and wellness of faculty and students.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, depression and anxiety in children ages 6-17 has increased.

Students said support is imperative.

“It helps to talk about it and understand we all go through it,” said junior Michael Niceley.

Therapy dogs are proven to reduce anxiety and stress and improve self-esteem.

If a student needs time with Evan, a trainer says, “Can you visit?” and the canine stays with the student who may need a moment of zen.

“Evan gives adults and students just the chance to be away from their job. For students, this is a serious job. They’re working hard to accomplish things and Evan gives them a little respite where they see him and light up immediately,” said Ahlers.

This is a pilot program in partnership with the Hamilton County Education Service Center and Circle Tail, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide service and hearing dogs to people with disabilities.

School officials will have conversations at the end of this semester about how things went and the best way to move forward.

The family of a student is acting a host family for Evan when he isn’t working at school.

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Big Dogs Need Owners

    When the shutdown orders took full effect, it became nearly impossible to find a small dog available for adoption as Southlanders sought furry companions. In many Southland shelters, only larger breeds remained available for adoption. Now Los Angeles Animal Service is touting the joys of big dogs while offering discounted adoption fees for larger breeds […]

    Read more

    Service Dog Walkathon

    On Saturday, October 3, hundreds of walkers from across 15 states joined the path to bettering the world for children with autism and their families as part of BluePath Service Dogs’ fourth annual walkathon. The family-friendly fundraiser – this year held virtually – raised more than $120,000 to further BluePath’s mission of providing autism service […]

    Read more

    Service Dog In The Marching Band

    In a year that is anything but normal, the Jones College Maroon Typhoon Marching Band has welcomed its first known service dog member this fall. Laurie, a 3-year-old golden retriever, is baritone saxophone player Sara-Beth McKellar’s service dog. The Vicksburg native was diagnosed with epilepsy as a sophomore in high school after her first seizure. […]

    Read more

    Church Blesses Animals

    St. Mary’s Church of the Immaculate Conception in Port Jervis hosted a special outdoor service last Sunday afternoon to bless the community’s pets, animals and other living creatures. In keeping with current pandemic rules, pet owners wore masks, remained distant, and took part in praying for dogs, cats, turtles, and other pets and animals around […]

    Read more

    Police Welcome New Canine

    After the unexpected passing of longtime Police Service Dog Zeus earlier this week, Kingston Police are welcoming a new member to the Canine Unit. Police Service Dog Bask, also known as K9-8, is a Dutch Shepherd and Belgium Malinois mix, and will be patrolling the streets of Kingston with his handler Constable Jeff Dickson. Bask […]

    Read more

    Dog Park For Travelers

    St. Petersburg is widely recognized as a dog-friendly city, and St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport is making sure its four-legged visitors and their humans feel welcome by rolling out the artificial turf carpet. With the completion of the airport’s parking and roadway project – part of a series of multi-million dollar improvements at the airport over the […]

    Read more