I am a firm believer in having dogs on our school campuses. This year, Lakeside will have four facility dogs in our programs. We have really enjoyed our dogs, Boomerang, Cobalt and our new additions Garnett and Mint. Our students are so very pleased to have the dogs around to help them cope with varied issues in their lives.
Therapy dogs help students cope with issues in their lives
In a therapeutic community like Lakeside, it is a great asset to have a calming resource to greet our students in the morning, sit with them during stressful times in the day, and be available during lunch. It is calming for them just have access to a stress-reducing animal that is trained, safe and reliable.
Lakeside’s schools are not the only schools that use therapy and facility dogs.
It is a burgeoning trend in schools, particularly ones that double as a therapeutic community for students who have particular needs. Yet, dogs can also be very effective in regular schools. Here is an article with compelling testimonies on how some other schools utilize dogs in their environment:
Schools tend to be places of very high stress for many students.
Some struggle academically, some struggle with social fears, and some have life issues that may be traumatizing. For any students who have trouble regulating their brain states, dogs can be quite a calming influence. That calmness helps students regulate their brains, perform better in the classroom, and have a much better school experience each day.
I do hope more schools will consider facility dogs as a good option to help students have a better and more positive school experience. I know there are some liabilities, and extra expenses and effort, but our students at Lakeside will tell you that the facility dogs are well worth it for the positive impact the dogs have on the entire school environment.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network