Therapy dog coming to LaSalle Elementary

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 11:49 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - A therapy dog will join students at LaSalle Elementary School this upcoming fall.

The Mishawaka School Board approved this action item at a meeting Wednesday night.

“And so, we have a social worker at LaSalle Elementary who has a therapy dog, a therapy animal, that wants to train the animal and have it come to our school next school year. To work with kids. Be around kids. Give the students an animal that can comfort them and an animal that they can read to,” said Theodore Stevens, who is Superintendent of School City of Mishawaka.

School social worker, Michelle Anderson, says therapy dogs help reduce stress, cope with trauma, improve school attendance, and even help with reading.

“You know, they’ll read to a therapy dog or a therapy animal whereas they are very reluctant to read to somebody else. So, yeah, I think there’s lots of benefits to having a therapy animal and we are trying to go about this the right way, with a pilot program,” said Stevens.

Christina Gates, who is the owner of Top Notch Service Dogs and Dog Training, will help with the certification process.

“You know, at all of our schools we are trying to develop social-emotional learning programs. This works right in concert with them and complements those programs that we are trying to establish,” said Dave Troyer, who is the Director of Student Services.

Penny will start training during summer school.

The school board also approved a plan to replace some of the existing ticket booths at their football stadium.

It is part of a student’s Eagle Scout Project.