Pepper the school therapy dog sitting in front of the Vincent s ziccolla school entrance

Meet Pepper, our school therapy dog!  Pepper is a 6 year old border collie, and is certified with the K9 Caring Angels therapy dog team.  Pepper has a kind and gentle demeanor, and has gone through extensive training with her handler.  She is also the official bat dog for the NY Boulders baseball team!  Over the years, numerous research studies demonstrate the benefits of animal assisted activities and in particular the contribution of therapy dogs.  Pepper works 1:1, in small groups, and in the classroom with students.

What are the benefits of having a therapy dog in school?

Physical: Interaction with a therapy dog reduces blood pressure and can stimulate our senses, motivating us to move, walk, or write. 

Social:  Pepper is a positive mutual topic for discussion.  Being around dogs promotes greater self-esteem and well-being, and can facilitate social interactions with others. 

Cognitive: Therapy dogs can stimulate memory, problem solving, and executive functioning skills such as self-control.

Emotional: Being around a therapy dog improves self-esteem, acceptance from others, can lift moods, and bring smiles to both children and adults.  People generally feel happier after interacting with a dog.

When our students feel better, it enables them to focus on learning and contributes to better gains in academics such as reading!