Therapy animals provide many health benefits, which is why it is good that the high school brings seven dogs around to provide them for students.
“Blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormone production decreases in the presence of a therapy animal,” Karen Holman, the leader of the Tiger Tails program, said.
Therapy animals are also regularly brought to people in hospitals.
“Healing time, physically and emotionally, is faster when patients are exposed to animal-assisted interventions,” Holman said.
The dogs greatly improve the mental state of students who are visited. It can take their mind off of stressful school work and encourage them to do better.
“It showed me the good side of things and that everything will be okay in the end no matter what,” senior Gus Ricks said.
If you don’t have access to a therapy dog, you can still reap the benefits of an animal. They don’t have to be trained as an emotional support animal to help you. Spending time with a normal pet has been shown to have the same great effects, and a lot of them cuddle up to their owners when they notice they are upset.
“I have a Yorkie and Jack Russel mix named Honey,” sophomore Nasiah Clements said. “Everyday when I come home from school, she jumps and stands against my knees, then rushes to the couch, hops to the top of it, and leans against me while I pet her, and her tail whacks against the leather. All in all, she’s the best dog ever.”
However, personal pets have to stay at home, so students having access to dogs during the day when they most need it is great. The Tiger Tails program could grow even more and get more dogs to reach more people.
“We have some great ideas coming up for this year,” Holman said. “We will not be rushing to reach every class throughout the campus. Instead, we will be dividing our time with a more specialized approach. Along with classroom visitation organized by buildings, appointments will be available to work individually with students. We will have a character-building focus each week.”
Teachers who are interested in arranging a visit can contact Karen Holman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Even if the dogs don’t visit a class you’re in, you’re very likely to catch them in the hallways during passing.