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Alliance, OH: Therapy dog helps "calm the students"

Nov 6, 2018, Akron (OH) Beacon Journal: Alliance Middle School adds canine counselors https://www.ohio.com/news/20181106/alliance-middle-school-adds-canine-counselors ALLIANCE — A four-legged assistant is making a big impact in the counseling office at Alliance Middle School. Kamo, a 2 1/2-year-old standard poodle owned by school counselor Katina Parks, has been introduced to the students as a therapy dog this school year after getting his Canine Good Citizen certification. Parks noted therapy dogs provide many benefits, helping children and adults learn compassion, empathy, responsibility, respect and self-discipline, as well as offering comfort and non-judgmental love. She said studies have proven that even a short time with a dog can decrease levels of anxiety and increase emotional security. … Once a week, the pooch comes to work with Parks, spending time in her office, often during one-on-one meetings with students, and other times visiting classrooms, especially those students with behavioral and emotional issues…. Parks said having Kamo help calm the students quicker allows her to see more students. She said it also helps teachers who sometimes request a visit to their classrooms when they need his calming influence. She recalled one time a classroom was in chaos and just a brief walk through made an impact. “By the time we walked out the whole climate had changed. The kids were calmer, they were smiling, they weren’t off the walls and going crazy,” she said. “It just changed and the teacher was like, ‘Wow.’” …