I was very fortunate to have a supportive prinicipal at my school during the development of this program. The district had a strict policy against any animal working in the schools but together we were able to overcome some hurdles. The big breakthrough came in the form of a grant with Colorado State University. Their HABIC (Human Animal Bond in Colorado) program was conducting a study with the university in the emotional availablilty in students. They compared students that worked with a HABIC team and the school counselor with students that worked one on one with a therapist. We were able to document the positive results of having students working with a therapy dog through the increase in emotional availability and the decrease in office referrals at school.
Since this is a new modality for working with students, there are not many published studies to support the field. However, that is quickly changing. There are numerous ways that having a dog in school can benefit students. Several ideas and data from this website can help support your own cause. Having a binder full of research and examples of dogs working in schools was key to gaining the support of upper administration. To this binder I added documents of insurance, training, vet certificates and concrete data from students at the school.