School Therapy Dogs

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Administrative Support

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.