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ACE Therapy Dog

ACE has implemented a therapy dog program for students to assist them when dealing with transition, anxiety, or stressful situations. The simple act of petting a dog has the effect of lowering blood pressure and heart rates. Pet therapy also lowers stress hormones, like cortisol, and increases oxytocin. In other words, just being in contact with a therapy dog has a calming effect when students are upset. Therapy dogs can help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression and help students focus on learning.

According to one study published by the National Institutes of Health, having a dog present in the classroom promotes a positive mood and provides significant anti-stress effects on the body.We are happy to introduce you to Shadow and Evie. Shadow is a black Labrador and Evie is a Vizsla. Both dogs have frequented the ACE campus and classrooms and have become accustomed to the school and our students. Shadow and Evie are both two years old and have earned their certification from the Alliance of Therapy Dogs.

Teachers are able requests classroom visits from Shadow and Evie during instructional time. This is often just for a few minutes at the beginning of class, or if needed, for duration. Students may also request visits with the dogs by contacting their school counselor.

We also recognize that having dogs on campus may have the opposite effect on some students who have anxiety and/or fear in the presence of dogs. And, we know some students have allergies that prevent interaction and contact 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 used in their program or ELA class. The form is also available on the ACE APP. By not returning the form, students consent to participate in our program.