Four therapy dogs visited Highland Park Elementary on Dec. 6 as part of the school’s Wellbeing Wednesdays, a new initiative designed to encourage staff to incorporate different aspects of mind-body wellness into their lives and to improve overall health.
The dogs and their handlers were from Mo-Kan Pet Partners. Throughout the day, the dogs and handlers visited classrooms. One handler, Alice Sharp, and her dog, Lily, a Great Pyrenees, were featured presenters at the school’s monthly assembly.
During the day, students learned about the roles of the Mo-Kan Pet Partners therapy dogs. The handlers and dogs volunteer to serve local healthcare facilities, schools, nursing homes, Veterans Administration centers, mental health centers and hospice facilities — to name just a few. The proven benefits of therapy dogs include decrease in feelings of sadness and anxiety in patients, less pain after joint replacement, improved moods as well as improvement in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.