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Lonedell, MO: School considers adding therapy dog for "increasing population" who need support

Sept 1, 2018, Missourian: Therapy Dog Is Being Considered As Resource for Lonedell Students http://www.emissourian.com/local_news/saint_clair/therapy-dog-is-being-considered-as-resource-for-lonedell-students/article_13b9701c-3d75-54da-9856-ee8465af0281.html The Lonedell R-XIV School District is looking into having a furry friend roam the halls. Principal Wayne Dierker told The Missourian that administrators wants to practice due diligence and look at all options to make the best decision in choosing a therapy dog for students…. “Many schools have added dogs into the educational setting because it can help calm all students, especially ones that have experienced trauma,” he said, adding that therapy dogs teach empathy, change the mood for a child or the classroom environment, and help students focus. “They provide a quick calming presence for students and staff and can be a great tool to use with students for academic and social motivation,” he said. The district has not used a therapy dog in the past, according to Dierker. “We are looking for innovative practices to support our students, especially our increasing population of students who need greater interventions and supports based on a variety of external factors,” he said…. “We do have a lot of children who get anxiety prior to taking a test. There’s research out there that shows that therapy dogs in the classroom can sometimes help reduce those anxiety levels,” she said. “We also would have hopes that it could help maybe work with some of our other children in a one-to-one type setting for kids who are struggling with anxiety or stress.”