Therapy Dogs at School: A Proposal


Eden Shriqui

Bowie, a therapy dog, stands patiently, surrounded by students at the 5th Annual Mental Health Fair (Nov. 4, 2022).

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of The Prowler. 

Remember that time when Bowie, the emotional support dog, came over to our school for the mental health fair back in November? We were just getting ready for finals, and it was a very hot day, and then we all went to the fair, and there he was in the middle of the yard, and every kid flocked over to him. We were all petting him, rubbing him, and everybody was happy and didn’t feel the stress of finals, and all we thought about was Bowie. 

Now, think of that happening every day. Of course, it wouldn’t be Bowie but the school’s own therapy dog. 

Therapy dogs are dogs who go with their owners to volunteer in settings such as schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. It has been proven by studies from the National Institute of Health that service dogs can positively affect people with anxiety, depression, and other forms of PTSD as well as other mental disorders. 

This would be great at dTHS as students who suffer from similar mental conditions could relax with the dog, especially during finals and SATs or if something bad happens at the school. Staff will also be able to see the dog, as they go through as much stress as the students and need a break too. 

Students could also get service hours learning how to become a certified service dog handler. There are several organizations available to do this, such as Pet Partners. You can look up the website to see the full list of recognized therapy dog organizations. As long as you are at least 18 years old, you can get certified. Different students could take turns handling the dog while it works around the school. 

The only time students or staff would be able to see the dog would be during lunch or after school outside in case of students or staff who have dog allergies. 

I can say from personal experience that therapy dogs only care about you and want to make you happy and that no matter what they will love you unconditionally. Even when you’re depressed, anxious, or angry, they love you. From dawn to dusk, they will follow and love you and make you smile and laugh. They are truly man’s best friend, and they can truly help students when they’re having a bad day at school.