bringing therapy dog to school for aat

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Member Since
Barked: Mon Dec 3, '12 6:35pm PST 
I am a speech-language pathologist in a massachusetts middle school..
I have a registered therapy dog with Dog B.O.N.E.S. therapy dogs of Massachusetts, (who is also a reading partner and a CGC through the AKC)... With the approval of my principal a few years ago, we created a program, sent out permission slips, put up warning signs outside of my office and Otto began coming to school on Fridays (the custodians were able to vacuum that day after we left). The program was great and the kids made incredible progress. Unfortunately, the SPED director who is allergic and scared of dogs, got wind of it and the program stopped. So unfortunate, especially for my kids on the autistic/pdd spectrum and other developmental delays.

I want to start bringing him back to school to help with my students (many of whom have social language issues) and am looking for ammunition. Do you have any research, advice, etc...that might help me bring Otto to school. I know the building admin will be supportive but the district admin will be a battle. The primary issues right now are concerns about allergies, and policy.

Do you have any samples of a written policy for use of a therapy dog in a public school that I could provide to the school board as I was just told that I will be allowed to address them about the issue in the hope that they will write in a policy and allow Otto to come? any other suggestions?
Thanks so much,
Ginger DSA- ThD TT CGC - &hearts

My Angel
Barked: Mon Dec 3, '12 8:16pm PST 
I don't have any info on the policy side of it, but here is some info from the organization Ginger and I volunteered with as far as reading scores and things like that:

If you contact them they may have some advice on getting permission, forms, or other things from the logistics side.
Droopy CD,- RA, HH, TDI,- CGC

I didn't do it
Barked: Tue Dec 4, '12 9:28am PST 
I don't have any information on policy, but I would check your organizations rules on utilizing a therapy dog during paid work time. I was a teacher and utilized my registered therapy dog for a reading program after school. My dog was registered through Therapy Dogs, Inc. His insurance was not valid while I was getting paid, so I had to wait until after teacher hours were over to begin the reading program, which greatly reduced my target population. I assume that all the therapy dog programs are different, but mine was strictly a volunteer program. I was fortunate that my administration was very supportive and one of our school board members was very involved in therapy dog programs.

Droopy CD,- RA, HH, TDI,- CGC

I didn't do it
Barked: Tue Dec 4, '12 9:59am PST 
Try contacting Dr. Barbara Murray from the University of Central Florida. She created the C.A.R.E. program (Canine Assisted Reading Program) and has done research on therapy dogs in the school setting. She is also a school board member, so maybe she could help steer you in the right direction.