Mishawaka, IN

Pawsitive Vibes: LaSalle Elementary Welcomes Therapy Dog to Campus

The Bendr Daily

Bringing Fur-tastic Comfort to LaSalle ElementaryPhoto byWNDU News

In an effort to enhance the well-being of their students, LaSalle Elementary School is excited to announce the addition of a therapy dog to their campus starting this fall. The decision was recently approved by the Mishawaka School Board, with hopes of providing emotional support and comfort to the students.

Superintendent Theodore Stevens expressed enthusiasm about the upcoming initiative, stating, "We have a social worker at LaSalle Elementary who has a therapy dog, a therapy animal, that wants to train the animal and have it come to our school next school year. To work with kids. Be around kids. Give the students an animal that can comfort them and an animal that they can read to."

Research has shown that therapy dogs can have a significant positive impact on individuals, especially children. School social worker Michelle Anderson highlighted the benefits of having a therapy dog on campus, including stress reduction, assistance in coping with trauma, improved school attendance, and even aiding in reading skills.

"You know, they'll read to a therapy dog or a therapy animal whereas they are very reluctant to read to somebody else. So, yeah, I think there's lots of benefits to having a therapy animal, and we are trying to go about this the right way, with a pilot program," Superintendent Stevens added.

To ensure the therapy dog is properly trained and certified, Christina Gates, owner of Top Notch Service Dogs and Dog Training, will be assisting with the certification process. This collaboration aims to establish a safe and effective program that aligns with the school's social-emotional learning initiatives.

Furthermore, LaSalle Elementary is continuously striving to enhance its facilities for both academic and extracurricular activities. During the same meeting, the school board approved a plan to replace several ticket booths at their football stadium. This improvement project is part of an Eagle Scout Project undertaken by a student at the school, showcasing the community's commitment to supporting their students' endeavors.

As the therapy dog, named Penny, begins her training during summer school, students and faculty eagerly anticipate her arrival in the upcoming school year. LaSalle Elementary School recognizes the importance of nurturing the emotional well-being of their students, and the addition of a therapy dog is a positive step toward creating a supportive and comforting environment for all.

With the introduction of this initiative, LaSalle Elementary School aims to foster a nurturing atmosphere where students can thrive academically, emotionally, and socially.

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