Sign In

Therapy dog starts pilot program at Foxboro elementary

March 31, 2020

Therapy dogs are expected to become a more common sight in local schools, with a pilot program involving one such dog starting in February in Igo Elementary School.

Planning for the visits, school officials have drafted a policy for assistance animals that was reviewed for the first time at this week’s school board meeting.

“Many schools have therapy dogs,” Superintendent Amy Berdos said. “It’s something that has proven a wonderful resource for students and staff.”

While town schools have been visited by such dogs, it hasn’t been on a regular basis. One visited the high school on a day exams were being held.

However, a certified therapy dog will be visiting Igo School under a pilot program, Principal Michael Stanton said.

Starting in February, Matty, a black lab that was trained by inmates at one of the Norfolk prisons and has been adopted by a host family, will visit classrooms to support efforts to build students’ self-esteem and social skills.

Studies have shown animal-assisted therapy can be beneficial for individuals with social, emotional, behavioral, and/or learning needs.

“We see the benefits of it,” Stanton said. “We’re excited to have that opportunity in all our schools.”

“I think it has proven successful,” school board member Beverley Lord said.

The police department and the school resource officer are interested in the program, Berdos noted.

School committee Chairwoman Tina Belanger mentioned Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey’s office recently providing area police departments with community resource dogs, including one for Wrentham.

The dogs are being paired with school resource officers.

Mansfield police last year purchased a service dog, Bentley, and he is very popular in the town’s schools.

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Izzy The Therapy Dog

    There is something different strolling the halls of schools in Moody this year and she’s soft, gentle and loves kids. Her name is Izzy and she is a two-year-old Goldendoodle, turned therapy dog. Her owner, Sgt. Ron Richardson, with the Moody Police Department, saw a video of a therapy dog being used in Cullman County […]

    Read more

    Animal Advocate

    Penny, a spaniel mix who works as a canine advocate for domestic violence victims through Crisis Center North, is nearing retirement. She was adopted from Action for Animals in Derry Township and attends court dates with victims to provide emotional support. But before she retires, she has one more job. She needs to train an […]

    Read more

    Dog Chow Campaign

    In honor of National Service Dog Awareness Month, Purina Dog Chow is launching its third annual “Service Dog Salute” campaign. A service dog can be life-changing in helping veterans with PTSD and other post-combat challenges. Unfortunately, due to the cost and time it takes to train a service dog, less than 1% of veterans in […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog In School

    A Derry primary school this week welcomed a new member of staff – its very own therapy dog. Joy will be used to provide comfort and reassurance to pupils at St Oliver Plunkett Primary School after studies have shown that therapy dogs have a positive impact on children’s mood and behaviour. St Oliver Plunkett is […]

    Read more

    Polices Therapy Dog

    The Great Barrington police department is holding a swearing in ceremony Friday for its new therapy dog, Officer Beko. Beko is a 16-week old black lab and works with Officer Kris Balestro. Beko’s training, certification and care are funded by donations from the local community. Officer Beko is the first therapy dog to join a […]

    Read more

    BarkBox Launching Essentials

    If your dog loves to monitor your work when you’re cooking, generally gets underfoot the entire time and sees “taste tester” as their official title, these new dog toys may be essential in your kitchen. Starting Oct. 1, Bed, Bath & Beyond is introducing a new line, specifically tailored to your dog’s kitchen needs. In […]

    Read more