This year’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School yearbook dedicated a page to 14 therapy dogs in Parkland, Florida.
These furry friends have been assisting MSD students and staff by keeping them company following their return to school after last year’s school shooting, reports WPTV.
The community felt the dogs needed to be honored with a special page because their presence has brought them such joy and comfort.
“After the shooting we wanted that yearbook to be perfect and had to cover as much as possible,” said the yearbook’s editor-in-chief Caitlynn Tibbetts. “This year, we wanted to give proper representation of our school and who we are now without giving so much focus to what happened to us in the past. The therapy dogs are the one thing from last year that is permanent and positive.”
According to the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, there are various benefits of having therapy dogs in the classroom, helping students physically, socially, cognitively, emotionally and with mental health.
Therapy dogs were also brought to Sandy Hook Elementary School after its school shooting and to Virginia Tech’s campus as well.
“The kids love having the dogs on campus, and honestly, so do we,” said Sarah Lerner, yearbook adviser, adding that the dogs are like celebrities around the school.
Lerner also stressed that while these dogs keep students smiling and laughing, they are never a distraction.
“They are trained therapy dogs,” she said. “They’re never unattended, they’re always on a leash and they’re so good-natured and well-mannered. They bring a sense of comfort and calm and relaxation. It’s wonderful.”
The dogs are brought to the school by volunteer handlers from various canine organizations.
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