Therapy Dogs: A Paw to Hold on a Ruff Day

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Therapy Dogs: A Paw to Hold on a Ruff Day

Namita Kalghatgi '20

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Ruff-ly every four weeks, Ridge High Schools pause their busy, stressful days to make a trip down to the guidance office. Excitedly walking down the halls with their friends, they burst open the guidance doors, greeted by therapy dogs, both big and small, waiting to meet their new friends.

 

Longtime member Sophie Beneventine ‘20 marvels the popularity of the club musing, “… it’s really cool how a few people in a club can put such a huge smile on people’s faces. We’re a pretty small club, but everyone knows about us and everyone looks forward to the dogs visiting the school.” Similarly, junior Raheel Abubakar enthusiastically stated, “It’s great that Ridge is making an effort to help out its students. The dogs give us something to look forward to in the day.”

 

In an academically rigorous environment such as Ridge High School, the impact of therapy dogs is insurmountable. Studies by the University of California at Los Angeles find that simply petting animals can release dopamine, serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin- hormones that play a major role in improving mental health. Some mental health challenges and psychiatric disorders are known to respond well to therapy dogs. Patients diagnosed with a range of issues, such as depression, bipolar disorder, autism, ADHD, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and even Alzheimer’s disease benefit from their interaction with therapy pets.

 

In addition to having a significant impact on both physical and mental health, therapy dogs were found to increase confidence within students, associate learning with positive memories, and increase reading and writing levels. Additionally, these furry friends particularly help students with social and emotional needs, aiding interrupting self-harming behaviors and de-escalating emotional meltdowns.  

 

Visiting therapy dogs during a lunch or study hall may bring a smile on your face amidst a stressful day- and that is sure to have a paw-sitive effect on Ridge High School students!

 

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Therapy Dogs: A Paw to Hold on a Ruff Day