Houston, TX

HISD Police Department supports Wesley ES students with comfort dogs to help ease back-to-school anxiety

Jackson Cutler

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HOUSTON, TX - August 23 is the first day of school for Houston's Wesley Elementary School students. They are welcomed by HISD Police Department comfort dogs to help them ease anxiety and depression due to the pandemic.

HISD Police Chief, Pete Lopez acknowledged that students may experience adaptation problems when they get back to school after the pandemic. Therefore, this initiative can hopefully help them to adapt "from being at home to being back at school and being social again.”

Jamaica, hypoallergenic Bernedoodle — a special breed of Bernese Mountain Dog and Poodle parents — and Luci, a chihuahua who serves as a comfort dog in the Social and Emotional Learning department welcomed Wesley Elementary School students on their first day of back-to-school. There's also a second dog, a miniature Goldendoodle named Omie.

This program aims to increase student's academic skills within a supportive and educational learning environment through anticipate emotional and behavioral barriers to learning.

Dr. Roberta Scott, director of Social and Emotional Learning it's essential for students to enhance their ability to self-regulate, build relationships, and (participate in) conflict resolution.

In partnership with HISD Police Department, the three dogs will participate in the Pet Assisted Wellness Support Program to provide comfort and support during adaptation crisis.

Additionally, students are allowed to give Jamaica a new name through HISD Police Department Dog Naming Contest by filling this form. Please note that each HISD classroom can only submit one name.

HISD Police will choose the winning name and the winning classroom will get a free pizza party as well as a visit from Jamaica. There will be a drawing for multiple submissions with the same name.

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