In the 2021-22 school year, Bloomfield Hills Schools will have two new staff members at Lone Pine Elementary and West Hills Middle Schools - therapy dogs! The first puppy is temporarily named Daisy, and a second dog will begin training as a BHS dog soon.
“Our canine staff members will join the team in late fall or early winter of next school year,” said Margaret Schultz, Director of Instructional Equity.
Each year, two more dogs will be added to our staff until each school has one. Lone Pine and West Hills are the first to welcome our therapy dogs.
“Therapy dogs provide students with a friend, and a safe place to come to every day,” further explained Schultz. “They create a comfortable, happy, and judgment-free environment and studies show that children’s reading abilities improve with the use of therapy dogs.”
Changes in attitudes toward reading, reading skill levels, schoolwork, attitudes toward homework, attendance, and changes in self-esteem and self-confidence can be seen by involving a therapy dog in a school. Therapy dogs have also been known to decrease levels of anxiety.
“The puppies start training now, working with the trainers at their training site,” said Director of Special Education Jennifer Perrone. “Including social emotional support dogs as part of our schools has been an initiative that BHS has been exploring for several months, and we are beyond excited to see it come to fruition next school year.”
This new venture will require some extra funding to provide the pups with food, grooming, vet bills, and more. For information about how to become a donor or sponsor, please visit our Therapy Dog Webpage.
BHS is so excited for these canine buddies to help improve the emotional, social, and academic well being of our school communities!