The PGS community is excited to welcome Tracker, a 7-year-old Labrador Retriever owned by Mrs. LaPerriere, to Pine Grove Elementary. Tracker is a certified therapy dog through the Nice Dog Therapy Program as well as a Canine Good Citizen through the AKC.
Empirical evidence has shown that therapy dogs can enhance children’s psychological development, improve social skills, and increase self-esteem among other benefits. Dogs can also teach responsibility, compassion, and respect for other living things. Dogs in the school can be used to calm fears, relieve anxiety, and teach skills.
Below is a summary of the potential benefits of therapy dogs (Data adapted from the Australian Companion Animal Council):
- Physical – interaction with a furry friend reduces blood pressure, provides tactile stimulation, assists with pain management, gives motivation to move, walk, and stimulates the senses
- Social – a visit with a dog provides a positive mutual topic for discussion, promotes greater self-esteem and well-being, and focused interaction with others
- Cognitive – companionship with a dog stimulates memory, problem solving, and game playing
- Emotional – an adorable four-legged visitor improves self-esteem, acceptance from others, and lifts mood often provoking laughter
- Environmental – a dog in a facility decreases the feeling of a sterile environment, lifts mood and this continues after visit.
- Reading – reading to dogs has been proven to help children develop literacy skills and build confidence, through both the calming effect the dog’s presence has on children as well as the fact that a dog will listen to children read without being judgmental or critical. This comforting environment helps to nurture children’s enthusiasm for reading and provides them with the confidence to read aloud.
Before Tracker’s arrival, children and staff will be educated on how to approach and interact with him so as to make the transition for everyone as smooth as possible. Tracker is not the first therapy dog at Triton schools. For several years, Salisbury elementary students enjoyed the company of Warren, a black lab. We look forward to welcoming Tracker to PGS within the next week.