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Therapy Dogs At School

January 7, 2021

Those who own a dog can attest to their ability to lift mood, improve stress and bring joy by simply being there, unanswering, seemingly all-knowing and always delighted to see you.  Therapy animals are known for their calm and comforting nature, giving people a way to relax, de-stress and interact with a loving pet.  They can help people feeling upset, lonely or those who have been in traumatic situations.  Therapy dogs have been used in hospices, residential homes, hospitals and more and more commonly in schools.  Poor mental health within the student population is rising, becoming a more concerning issue.  Schools are trying hard to tackle this and therapy dogs maybe part of the solution.

When questioning Reverend Cecil on the impact Lina has on our school community she replied, “I think Lina brings a lot of joy to JAGS.  Many pupils and staff come to visit Lina – to stroke her – touch her warm belly and silky ears- and leave feeling uplifted and a bit less stressed.  Lina is there, a warm, breathing, heart-beating creature that doesn’t judge you nor does she talk back.  Lina can listen and trust your knee to be her pillow.  Lina simply loves people – and in a school environment that can be stressful and tense, Lina brings something else.  She is simply there to greet you with a waggy tail and ‘tells’ you that all is going to be ok.  Some students come and sit with Lina to rehearse before an exam and some come and give Lina a stroke when they are upset.  And of course, it’s important to remember that Lina is a dog.  She is not left alone but sits in my office at all times.  This is important for the safety of the school but also give Lina a space to hide if and when she needs some space.”

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