Many people have experienced first hand and believe strongly in the bond between animals and humans, but current research is beginning to show special impacts from pet/human relationships. Children who have challenges developing relationships with other children and adults have been shown to behave differently with pets. It has been demonstrated that they show improvements in the areas of self-confidence, becoming aware of the needs of the pet, and the ability to take initiative to satisfy the pet…in other words, establishing relationships! Sometimes this even improves abilities of children to transfer these behaviors to people. Very cool!
LMS Community Based Classroom students partner with Mid-South Therapy Dogs this year and receive monthly classroom visits from therapy dog team Hunter, Keeper, and Steve and Laurie Goldman.
Mid-South Therapy Dogs and Friends is a nonprofit organization that is devoted to providing all people the opportunity to experience the special human-animal bond. They are an organization of volunteers providing animal-assisted interactions in health care facilities, schools, libraries, and youth facilities throughout the Mid-South.
Hunter and Keeper are two very special golden retrievers who are certified therapy dogs, and have become valuable classroom friends, providing a calming and educational addition to the classroom experience for our students this year. Our therapy dogs have been a comfort and joy to students and these students are able to feel the love that they provide. The students have been able to connect with these dogs in a relaxed setting, and are learning to read the dogs’ posture, teach them to respond to commands and do tricks, and are gaining pet care and grooming tips and techniques. The social and functional growth we are seeing in our students involved in this program is a very exciting tool assisting them in their quest toward success.
Allie Thomas-Special Education teacher