December 22nd – 12 Days of Comfort and Joy
Day 3 – School Resource Dogs – Bringing comfort and joy to School
Remember, during the “12 Days Of Comfort and Joy” (Dec 20-31, 2016) all donations IN ANY AMOUNT will be matched by the Giant Steps Foundation AND be tax deductible! If you’re inspired, please make a donation today!
When 26 children and teachers were massacred at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT on December 14, 2012, Holly Ryan, a school psychologist who works with PawPADs in our Project YES! and school resource dog program, knew she had to get there. Newtown is her home town and she personally knows many of the first responders and families of victims. She grabbed Ranger, a PawPADs service dog in-training at the time, and rushed there. She witnessed first-hand the power of the human-canine bond as a therapeutic, educational, healing tool…changing lives. PawPADs’ dogs don’t just change the lives of the person they are eventually partnered with, but are changing lives throughout their training. Her experience is just one reason PawPADs is the leader in Minnesota with our “School Resource” Dogs.
Holly now is partnered with PawPADs’ “Enzo,” who accompanies her throughout her day as she works with students and sees their improved frustration tolerance, communication, and teamwork. Enzo goes with her as she and her colleagues deal with school tragedies, such as a traffic accident that took the lives of High School students. Her colleague, Sheila Vesper, another school psychologist, is now partnered with “Kali” in the same capacity, as is “Mysha,” with the Principal of a local Middle School.
One of the best known school resource dogs in Minnesota is “Hero.” He’s partnered with the Principal of
Eastview Elementary, Taber Akin. Seeing Hero is the highlight of many students’ days, and has increased student engagement, decreases anxiety, increases student motivation, reinforces existing skills and provides unique experiences. That’s a long way of saying Hero has become the soul of Eastview!
School Resource dogs have become an indispensable tool in the tool box of teachers and school administrators and brings comfort and joy to the schools each and every day!