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Therapy Dog Helps Students

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Four legged friends are no longer just pets, they also can be teachers. Monac Elementary is now using a therapy dog in their classroom. Brooke, a labrador retriever has joined the teaching staff at Monac elementary school. The certified therapy dog has a daily routine of greeting students, making rounds in the classroom, and letting loose at recess. But most importantly Brooke is available to lend support to students so they are able to achieve behavioral goals. Studies have shown that interaction between people and animals can have a calming effect and reduce anxiety.

Melanie Robinson, Monac Elementary School Counselor says, “It decreases the stress hormones that are in our body, it causes kids and adults to have less anxiety, to be able to learn better there are reading Studies that show children do benefit from reading to a dog because the dog is not able to judge and so they relax and enjoy reading more when they are able to read to the dog, they don't have to worry about making a mistake.”

Since the start of the school year the staff has noticed an improvement in their student’s behavior by picking up on the social ques between Brooke and Mrs. Robinson, her handler. Simple techniques like using eye contact and waiting for a response before taking action have helped with the communication between students and staff.

Monac Elementary is the first school in the Washington Local School District to use a therapy dog and they plan on keeping Brooke there until she is ready to retire.

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