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Oxford, MI: Schools' therapy dogs help with social-emotional/academic wellbeing

Nov 5, 2022, Up North Live: Traverse City, MI: Oxford Community schools announces therapy facility dog program

OXFORD, Mich. - According to the Executive Director of Student Services & Wellness, Todd Barlass, Oxford Community Schools has announced the launch of its own therapy facility dog program called the Oxford Wildcat Pack.

As part of our Three Year Recovery Plan, we are happy to announce the launch of our own therapy facility dog program called the Oxford Wildcat Pack. Research has shown that providing therapy dogs in an educational environment can support students’ social-emotional learning, improve school attendance, increase self-confidence, and help students build better relationship skills with peers and adults.

Over the past 11 months we have partnered with 4 Pawz Strong (Founder of the Brighton Pack of Dogs) to help us in this endeavor. This group is a non-profit organization who assists school districts across the United States in building their therapy dog programs. The group has helped us raise funds to purchase 12 dogs for our district along with their extensive therapy facility dog training.

Currently four dogs are fully trained and are working in our buildings every day: …

We are extremely grateful to each of these amazing volunteer dogs and their handlers for their impactful and precious service to our students and staff. Their value to our recovery has been priceless. Just like the volunteer dogs, our Oxford Wildcat Pack pups greet students and staff in the hallways, visit classrooms, attend events, and give lots of extra love to students when they need it. …

We are excited to help improve the social-emotional and academic wellbeing of our school’s community with our Oxford Wildcat Pack.

Parents, we do recognize that some families may have questions or concerns about this program and may have students with allergies or a fear of dogs. We completely understand dogs are not for everyone and we do not want any students to feel uncomfortable. It will be important for families to reach out to their student’s teacher or principal with any concerns you may have. Plans can be created on a case-by-case basis to help support any concerns for your child….

Credit: Oxford Community schools


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