The Hopewell Valley Regional School District has started using therapy dogs to help their students cope with the pandemic, according to News 12 New Jersey.
Schools everywhere are trying to be creative on how to reach their students and comfort them during this very challenging time. Students have never had to deal with a pandemic before, and it's scary. Many are having a hard time, but, thanks to their educators, they now have some adorable dogs to help them. I love this.
The Hopewell public schools have teamed up with A.I.R. Therapy Dogs to provide comfort. Along with the A.I.R. Therapy Dogs, some school staff members have volunteered their own pets to be trained to help their students as well. The Superintendent of the Hopewell Valley Regional School District, Thomas Smith, says, "All of our administrators who have dogs have volunteered to have their dogs trained to act as therapy dogs for our students.”
School administration has already noticed a difference in the students...they're opening up more about their feelings during these difficult months. The schools are using the therapy dogs for students currently in the building for hybrid learning, and virtual students.
Tricia Baker from the A.I.R. Therapy Dogs organization said in the article, "Being able to use our dogs to help children, it doesn’t get any better than that. The simple act of looking at a dog releases oxytocin, which is the relationship hormone, and then when you pet a dog it releases serotonin; dopamine and it lowers our cortisol level, which is our stress hormone."
Well done, Hopewell. What a great idea.