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Detroit Lakes, MN: Call for "comfort canine"; reduce "aggressive behaviors"

July 3, 2023, Detroit Lakes (MN) Online: Teacher asks Detroit Lakes School Board about comfort canine for middle school

The district would own the pre-trained dog that would be used with students in classrooms but a handler would care for the dog’s well-being — including food, vet bills, grooming and more.

The Detroit Lakes School Board has been asked to consider purchasing a $12,000 comfort canine to be used with students at the middle school.
Jessica Johnson, a special education teacher at Detroit Lakes Middle School, presented the idea during the regular monthly school board meeting on Monday, June 26.

Johnson said that the dog would arrive fully vetted and trained by the same company that provides drug-sniffing dog services for the school. Her vision is to have the dog with her in her special education classroom for part of the day. The remaining portion of the day the dog would be in regular instruction classrooms….

Benefits to students by having a comfort dog at school may include reduced stress and anxiety for some pupils, and increased socialization for some students who isolate, Johnson stated. She added that she also hopes there will be a decrease in students who exhibit aggressive behaviors….

She informed the board that other school districts utilizing comfort dogs were contacted, including Wahpeton, North Dakota. She stated the experience from all districts that she contacted was positive. Johnson added she was confident that her students would also respond positively to a comfort canine.

Board members Amy Erickson and April Thomas agreed there can be benefits to comfort animals.


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