Confluence Academy Old North had a very special visitor. Through Love on a Leash, a certified therapy dog came to our school. A group of students earned the privilege of meeting with the dog. Research shows that having a dog at school has many benefits beyond a break from the routine. Petting a dog has been shown to decrease blood pressure and reduce stress, thereby improving behavior. Students who have the opportunity to read to a dog see improved reading levels. Dogs do not judge the reading level so the students can gain confidence and dogs seek out human eye contact which provides positive feedback and impacts the brain.
The students at Old North had the opportunity to visit the dog, pet her, engage in brain games, and give her commands to perform tricks and just play. Students were surprised by the dog’s interest in books and were even heard attempting to work out words themselves instead of asking for assistance. Everyone had fun seeing if they could trick her by hiding treats under a cup. At the end of their visit, each student that participated left the room with a positive outlook for the rest of the day and appeared rested and calm.