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Northampton, MA: School gets first therapy dog; benefit for kids with social/emotional issues

July 20, 2019, Northampton, MA, Daily Hampshire Gazette: Jackson Street School hires therapy dog Jackson Street School’s first ever therapy dog — a 6-month-old labradoodle named Jackson — arrived in Northampton this week from a training facility in Indiana. “We have some students who have had hard pasts, bad experiences or trouble connecting with others,” Principal Gwen Agna said. “Our dog will really allow students to open up and get the kind of emotional support they need.” When school staff found that certain students with emotional issues in school could better connect and relax with their dogs at home, the administration looked into ways to bring that kind of therapy into the classroom…. “They’ve been really helpful in schools, particularly in the classroom and guidance offices,” Benz said. … For students with social and emotional issues, Jackson will be an important source of unconditional affection and reassurance. For others, he will be a pleasant stress-relieving visitor. … “I can imagine he will inspire students academically as well as socially and emotionally,” Agna said.

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