A Therapy Dog is More Than a Pet

Sunny Boy makes his appearance at Kennedy

This year the Student Council wanted to bring some fun spirit to our students, especially during this year’s Mid-Term Exams, so they made arrangements to have a Therapy Dog visit our school.

From January 16 through January 23, 2020 Sunny Boy, full name Good Times Bring a Sea of Sunshine, a member of Therapy Dogs International (TDI) will visit our students.  Today, Sunny Boy and his generous handler, Mike Jones, visited students in the cafeteria for a few hours.  This was the last day of regular classes before the exams. 

Sunny Boy's full name is Good Times Bring a Sea of Sunshine

Once the students caught a glimpse of Sunny Boy, most did a double take, “Wait! What? Is that a dog?”  After realizing it was a dog, the smiles, petting, and gushing commenced.  One student was heard saying “He is so soft and pretty.  I want him to come every day.”  Another student suggested, with a laugh and a smile, “Perhaps Sonny Boy can visit with the teachers as they grade our Mid Terms. They may need a little therapy too.”

When asked for her thoughts about the benefits of a therapy dog visit, Grades 12 Guidance Counselor, Meaghan Carnevalla, said “Therapy dogs have been active in schools for some time. Teachers and administrators have seen the beneficial effects therapy dogs have on students and teachers.” Miss Carnevalls continues “Playing with therapy dogs reduces blood pressure, and provides physical stimulation.” She says that visiting therapy dog also “promote increased self-esteem and focused interaction with other students and teachers.” “It has been empirically proven that therapy dogs stimulate memory and problem-solving skills.” Miss Carnevalla adds “therapy dog can lift moods of students, often provoking laughter. I’m so glad Sunny Boy visited, all of my students loved it.”

Kennedy Students with Sunny Boy

So what is Therapy Dogs International?  Founded in 1976 in New Jersey, Therapy Dogs International (TDI) is a non-profit organization, supported through annual membership dues and donations.  It is an organization dedicated to regulating, testing and registration of therapy dogs and their volunteer handlers for the purpose of visiting nursing homes, hospitals, other institutions and wherever else therapy dogs are needed.  TDI registers all breeds of dogs. Some dogs have pedigrees, while others have been adopted from local shelters or are rescue dogs. TDI’s has volunteer dogs and their handlers in all 50 States as well as some in Canada.  To learn more about TDI visit their website here https://www.tdi-dog.org/

To learn more about therapy dogs you can visit the Wikipedia article on the subject.

Sunny needs a break from all the excitement

Sonny Boy and Mr. Jones will be back in the spring, during Final Exams, to help bring more love and joy.  Thank you Sonny Boy and Mr. Jones!

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