SSES to Get a Therapy Dog

SSES to get a Therapy Dog
Posted on 03/21/2022
CharlieI am writing to introduce you to our newest staff member, who will be joining us at Roberts Street and South Side Elementary School at the end of this month. Charlie is a one year old male Labradoodle. Charlie has recently passed his Canine Good Citizen’s Test (CGC) and is excited to be a part of the Canastota School Community. We wanted to share some information about the benefits of having a therapy dog in school as well as answer some potential questions and explore some concerns you may have:

Benefits of Having a Therapy Dog in Schools:
● Increased self-esteem and positive interactions between staff and students.
● Decreased blood pressure and increased physical stimulation.
● Increased memory and problem solving skills.
● Increase in positive mood; places students at ease and increases openness/socialization with others.
● Studies have shown an Increase in student reading skills when they are given opportunities to read to an accepting, non-judgemental audience ie. a therapy dog.

Concerns and Considerations:
● Charlie has a non-shedding hypoallergenic coat, which is suitable for students with allergies.
● Charlie will only interact with students who want to work with him. This is to be mindful of students that may not like dogs or have a fear of them. Research has shown that work with therapy dogs often decreases one’s fear of animals.
● Charlie will be on a leash and wear a collar when he is on school grounds; he will not be free to roam.
● Charlie lives with my family on a full-time basis. He is up to date on vaccination records, registered with the town, socialized with children on an ongoing basis and is groomed regularly.
● Charlie will have access to food, water and be given multiple opportunities to be brought outside for bathroom breaks during the day. In addition, Charlie will have a designated area in the principal’s office at South Side and Robert Street Elementary School when not working in a classroom.
● There will be several designated alternative handlers in the building to ensure he is overseen by an adult at all times.
● Charlie will be slowly acclimated to the school environment before being utilized in classrooms for any extended period of time.

We are extremely excited to welcome Charlie to the Canastota Team and believe that his influence will be a positive one for staff and students. The plan is to start him on a schedule approximately two days a week at Roberts Street and South Side Elementary School, mostly on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Additional days may be considered in the future depending on how well the initial schedule works. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me directly. Additional information can be found in the Board Policy listed on the district website. Lastly, please be on the lookout for updates on Charlie’s journey on the Canastota School District’s Facebook page. Thank you for your continued support.