Article Review: Therapy Pets and Children

While sipping my morning coffee on Sunday, I read a wonderful article on KQED News regarding how one school incorporated the use of a therapy dog to help build confidence in children while reading aloud. The article focuses on a school in San Francisco that had some difficult children due to tragic/disturbing events happening in their lives. When children experience difficult situations in their personal lives, it makes it harder for them to focus at school and on their studies. A quote from the article states:

Research shows that kids will have more difficulty tolerating frustration, controlling their impulses and managing their aggression.

Lau-Yee wanted to equip her students with emotional tools that could help them manage these overwhelming feelings. So, she decided to enlist the help of a furry friend named Stanley, a therapeutic dog who is beloved by many children in the community. She hoped that Stanley could teach the kids about empathy, as well as nourish a deeper love of literacy among the students, too.

The article went on to say how pets are “non-judgmental” and can calm people in stressful/tough situations. Due to difficult events in the childrens’ lives, this can cause them to feel self-conscious or anxious about reading aloud in class, which is where the therapy dog comes into play.

I don’t want to give away the whole article, but I think this is AMAZING. I am a huge advocate of therapy animals. With having 2 dogs of my own, they often calm me down when I am stressed or anxious about school and other life situations (even with them not being therapy animals). Just a few minutes with them change my mood completely and make me feel a lot better. Children are vulnerable and it’s important to build confidence at a young age, so they can grow up with it. I believe that more schools should incorporate therapy animals to help build this confidence in children. Therapy pets can also make children more enthusiastic to go to school and give them to motivation to work their hardest. What do you think about therapy pets in schools, or in general? Share your opinion in the comments!

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