Why it' s Therapy dogs in the school setting can not only make a difference in terms of gaining various skills such as reading enhancement, but also in contributing to emotional and relational development.
What is a therapy dog?
Petting a dog is shown to reduce blood pressure, Lower levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, and an increase in oxytocin are also associated with pet therapy and contribute to respiratory and cardiovascular health.
Children are naturally curious about animals. dogs in schools can be particularly fascinating to learn about. Teaching children about dog biology and how to approach and care for dogs gives them confidence. Caring for pets is fundamental to being community-minded. Children wishing to learn more about dog training may use their creativity to design new tricks for the dog to learn.
all about RELATIONSHIPS Our therapy dog will help students to: share relationship building skills and trustworthiness exemplify calming techniques and self-regulation help with anxiety and stress
Benefits from working or visiting with therapy dogs include reduced stress, improved physical and emotional well-being, low blood pressure, decreased anxiety, improved self-esteem, and normalization of the environment, increasing The probability of successful academic achievement by students. Examples of activities that students may engage in with therapy dogs include petting and or hugging the dog, speaking to the dog, giving the dog simple commands that the dog is training to respond to, and reading to the dog.
Animal Assisted Therapy is a goal-driven intervention, which is directed and or delivered by health, human, or education service professional and is meant to improve physical, social, emotional and or cognitive function of an individual.
A therapy dog is a dog that has been individually trained, evaluated and registered with his her handler to provide animal-assisted activities, animal-assisted therapy and animal-assisted interactions within a school or other facility. Therapy dogs do not resemble (emotional support animals) and (service animals).
The handler is an individual school district staff member or volunteer who has been individually trained, evaluated, and registered with the therapy dogs to provide animal-assisted activities, animal-assisted therapy and animal-assisted interactions within a school or other facility.
Board of Education:
- The proof of registration as therapy dogs handler with the individual therapy dogs to be used (Note: Such registration shall be from an organization that requires an evaluation of the therapy dogs and handler prior to registration and at least every two years).
- Proof from a licensed veterinarian that the therapy dogs are in good health and has been immunized against diseases common to dogs. Such vaccinations shall be kept current and up to date at all times.
- Proof of licensure from the local dog licensing authority.
- Copy of an insurance policy that provides liability coverage for the work of the handler
and therapy dogs while in school property. This is provided by the Board of Education.
Therapy Dog Standards and Procedures:
Registration: The therapy dogs shall have registration from an organization that requires an evaluation of the therapy dogs and handler at least every two years and shall remain current and in good standing at all times.
Health and Vaccination: the handler shall submit proof from a licensed veterinarian that the therapy dogs are in good health and has been immunized against diseases common to dogs. such vaccinations shall be kept current and up-to-date at all times.
Licensing: The handler and therapy dogs shall wear appropriate identification issued by the school district.
Health and Safety: the board of education shall ensure that the therapy dogs do not pose a health and safety risk to any student, employee, or another person at school and that the therapy the dog is brought to the school district only when properly groomed, bathed, free of illness or injury and of the temperament appropriate for working with children and others in the schools.
Control: The handler shall ensure that the therapy dogs wear a collar or harness and a leash no longer than four feet and shall maintain control of the therapy dogs by holding the leash at all times that the therapy dogs is on school district property, including during breaks, unless holding such a leash would interfere with the therapy dog’s safe, effective performance of its work or tasks. However, the handler shall maintain control of the therapy dogs at all times and shall not tether the therapy dogs to any individual or object.
Supervision and Care of the Therapy dogs: the handler shall be solely responsible for the supervision and humane care of the therapy dogs, including any feeding, exercising and cleaning up after the therapy dogs while the therapy dog is in the school building or on school property.
The handler shall not leave the therapy dogs unsupervised or alone on school property at any time. The school district is responsible for providing the funding to the handler for care, supervision, and assistance to the therapy dogs.
Authorized Area(s): The handler shall ensure that the therapy dogs have access to only such areas of the school building or properties that have been authorized by school district administrators.
Allergies and Aversions: The handler shall remove the therapy dogs to a separate area, who suffers from dog allergies or aversion is present in an office, hallway, or classroom.
Recordkeeping: handlers who are school district staff shall sign in their therapy dogs upon arrival and sign him/her out on their departure damages and injuries: the board of education shall assume full responsibility and liability for any damage to school property or injury to district staff, students, or others in the school caused by the therapy dogs.
Exclusion or removal from school district Property: therapy dogs may be excluded from school district property if a school administrator determines that:
(1) The handler does not have control of the therapy dogs;
(2) The therapy dogs are not housebroken;
(3) The therapy dogs present a direct and immediate threat to others in the school; or
(4) The therapy dog’s presence otherwise
interferes with the educational program. the handler shall immediately remove his/her therapy a dog from school property when instructed to do so by a school administrator.
if the therapy dogs are found to be no longer suitable for the program, the handler may request to the board of Education to obtain full ownership. at that time, the board of education will vote to relinquish ownership of the dog to the handler, at no cost to the handler. all future costs associated with the dog will be taken over by the handler at that time.