Editorial: Therapy dogs bring benefits to students

Students today struggle with the ever-growing pressures of school. Whether there is an exam coming up or having a hard time finding a friend to comfort them when they are feeling sad, all students struggle with something. Sometimes, all that is needed in situations like these is a hug, or someone to talk to that will always listen. Therapy dogs meet all of these requirements.

While there are adults to talk to while on campus, dogs provide a different dynamic. Students may struggle to open up to adults. However, with a therapy dog, a student does not have to worry about what the animal is going to say or think. A presence of comfort, willing to always be there for the student.

In the opinion of the Portfolio staff, the introduction of therapy dogs in school will help students’ school-related stress, and can benefit students for years to come.

Therapy dogs are canines that are trained to provide affection, comfort and support to people. They provide services such as listening and providing fluffy hugs whenever necessary.
According to Frontiers in Veterinary Science, therapy dogs have been found to reduce physiological symptoms of stress, increasing positive emotions, promoting engagement in learning activities and more.

If therapy dogs were implemented in schools, students could have an outlet for stress and be offered a sense of comfort. With no way to calm down in an overwhelming school environment, students can become aggressive, anti-social or extremely anxious. However, therapy dogs can let students decompress. Classroom interactions will become more positive if the students feel better.

According to therapydogs.com some of the benefits recorded in school classrooms include: increased school attendance, positive changes lead to better learning and enhanced motivation, growth in confidence levels and development of better and stronger relationships with teachers and peers due to the experience of trust and love with therapy dogs. Children learn ways to express their feelings and develop more trusting relationships.

Also, there is evidence of therapy dogs being able to increase reading and language skills. With these concepts being a necessity in almost every walk of life, if therapy dogs can provide a rise in them, they can have a lasting impact on schools and a student’s overall education.

According to Georgia Southern University, numerous studies have found that literacy skills can be improved from reading to dogs and that children gain confidence in reading and report an increased love of reading.

Opponents may say that students may be afraid or allergic to these therapy dogs. However, a possible solution to this is to make seeing a therapy dog a choice personal to each individual student. No students are required to see the dog.

Due to this, we believe that students can benefit from having a therapy dog on their campus because of the comforting benefits they provide, how they improve school interactions and their ability to improve students’ academic performance. Dogs are truly special animals and with their help, we can make our students feel better about themselves and school overall.