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NYC: Comfort dogs will expand to 60 schools by the end of the year; nationwide program

Oct 29, 2018, Chalkbeat: After this school launched New York City’s first comfort dog program, others joined the pack Inside the main office of Shell Bank Middle School in Sheepshead Bay, … Classroom-ready comfort dogs have been a part of school life in New York City since 2014. Now in 45 schools, the comfort dog program will expand to 60 schools by the end of the school year, the city announced last week. … The program’s goal is to use the love between children and dogs to teach empathy, cooperation, self confidence and other life lessons. Thanks to early success at schools like Shell Bank, comfort dogs are now walking the hallways and visiting classrooms in more than 4,000 schools across the United States and Canada. … Once implemented, the program’s impact was analyzed by Yale researchers, finding that it resulted in significantly higher levels of empathy, prosocial behaviors, and a positive school climate. Principal Ahearn argues that it is not only benefitting her students socially, but it is academically rewarding as well. That’s why she’s strict about keeping her office door open so that students dealing with anything from relationship issues to academic problems can come and play with the dogs whenever they choose….

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