Have You Met Our “Fur-Friend” Therapy Dogs?

Have You Met Our “Fur-Friend” Therapy Dogs?
Posted on 01/08/2019

Have you ever heard of dogs in schools? Sounds crazy, right? It turns out that a trained therapy dog is extremely beneficial to students. Mrs. Christy’s and Miss Ellis’ students look forward to spending time with their “fur friends,” Archie and Ruby. Archie and Ruby are registered therapy dogs through Therapy Dogs International. Archie, who is owned by Rosemary Curley, comes to visit weekly and Ruby, who is owned by Beth McKinney, comes monthly. Archie and Ruby each have a unique way with the students. Archie is quiet and loves to listen to the students read to him, while Ruby is energetic and loves to have the kids play and throw the tennis ball for her. According to the Alliance of Therapy Dogs (one of the largest therapy dog organizations in the United States), there are many benefits of therapy dogs in the classroom setting. Therapy dogs have a calming effect on students and teachers. Students interact with the dogs in several ways, either by simply petting the dog, reading to them, or playing with them. Interacting with therapy dogs has shown to reduce blood pressure, promote greater self-esteem, and it has been proven that therapy dogs stimulate memory and problem-solving skills. Therapy dogs lift moods in the classroom by offering unconditional friendship and a shoulder to lean on. Ruby and Archie encourage laughter and a sense of calm in the students. Archie and Ruby put students at ease. Students who are shy or anxious are more apt to socially interact with the therapy dogs because they are comforting, gentle, and kind. When students were asked how they feel about Archie and Ruby coming this is what they said:

“I get excited when Archie comes to visit. I like when Archie licks my face. I think it makes us both happy!” – a fifth grade student

“I like to read books to Archie, because he is a good listener. I also like when he sits with me” – a sixth grade student

“I like when Archie greets us because he wags his little tail. It makes me feel happy!” – a sixth grade student

“Ruby and Archie are soft. I like them” –  a first grade student

“Ruby lets me throw the tennis ball and she brings it back. It is fun” – a first grade student

“I can read to Archie and he just listens. He makes me happy!” – a first grade student