(Canada) Simcoe Cty: 2 dogs in elementary schools to reduce "anxiety, stress, conflicts"

Dec 17, 2017, Ontario, Canada, What are two dogs doing at a Stayner elementary school? Zuma, a seven-year-old golden retriever, and Finn, a five-year-old Maltese, are now part of the school community as a result of a partnership between the Simcoe County District School Board and Sweet Charity Assistance Dogs. The Stayner elementary school is the first in the board’s Area 5 — which includes Collingwood and Wasaga Beach — to employ the use of canine ambassador dogs to reduce student anxiety and stress. … “I have been trying for years to get service dogs into the school because of studies that show it helps students and staff in reducing anxiety, and it does change the atmosphere in the school,” Linton said. “When the program came along, it seemed like an opportunity to meet the challenge by training my own dog, and getting him into the school whenever I wanted. “It’s very hard to get a (service dog for mental health), especially in an elementary school because there is such a huge demand.” McKean-Dobbs said there were two pilot projects in Simcoe County schools with the dogs, “and they had amazing results … in reducing anxiety, stress, conflict — and they provide a warm, welcoming atmosphere. “When the angriest kid sees the dog, you see the change right away,” she said.

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