In times of increased stress or in the wake of a tragic event, it can be beneficial to utilize therapy dogs at school. Time spent with animals can improve the mental health of students and faculty alike. Therapy dogs often bring about a more caring, relaxed and productive learning environment.
However, there are some concerns to keep in mind when organizing a therapy dog program.
Create Safe Spaces for the Dog-Averse
It is crucial to consider the needs of those allergic to or afraid of dogs far before bringing dogs to your school. Communicate the program dates far in advance, and be proactive in designating areas and walkways that allow people to avoid contact with the therapy dogs at school.
Consult Your School’s Legal Counsel and Insurance
Introducing any animal to the school environment carries an element of risk, even a trained therapy dog. That does not mean, however, that your insurance company or legal counsel will object to this program. Leaders in school insurance have recognized the important benefits of therapy dogs at school, so don’t be afraid to work with them to make sure you are protected.
Improving morale and reducing stress by having therapy dogs at school is a noble goal, and with a few considerations, you can implement this program safely and courteously.