Therapy Dog Program

ACE has implemented a therapy dog program. We will utilize the dogs to assist students in dealing with transition, anxiety, or stressful situations. According to one study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), having a dog present in the classroom promotes a positive mood and provides significant anti-stress effects on the body. In fact, the simple act of petting a dog has the effect of lowering blood pressure and heart rate. Pet therapy also lowers stress hormones, like cortisol, and increases oxytocin. In other words, just being in contact with a therapy dog calms kids down when they are upset and helps keep their anxiety at bay. And reducing feelings of anxiety and depression enables them to focus on learning.

Shadow is a Black Lab and Evie is a Vizsla. Both dogs have frequently been in ACE classrooms and on campus to become accustomed with the school and our students. Each dog is two years have earned a therapy dog certification from the Alliance of Therapy Dogs (Therapydogs.com).

Teachers will be able requests the dogs into their classroom to help with test anxiety and other stressful situations that students may face during instructional time. This may be for a few minutes at the beginning of class or for duration of the class. Students may also request their use through their school counselor.

While aware of the positive benefits of having dogs on campus, we also recognize that some students may have anxiety towards or fear of dogs. In addition, we are certain there are some students with allergies that prevent interaction with dogs. ACE is sensitive to these circumstances. Parents (or students) may sign this form and return to the main office if they choose to OPT OUT of having therapy dog use in their program or ELA class. The form is also available on the ACE APP. Not returning this form will be considered consent for your student to participate in our program.