Holy Trinity Parish School is getting a furry, new student. Marley, a two-year-old Aussiedoodle, is coming on board as the school's new therapy dog. Laura Probus, the school's counselor, has been working for two years to find the right fit and is overjoyed to have Marley join the school. He was introduced to students during a surprise assembly last week!
Holy Trinity believes in giving every student the tools they need to succeed, and Marley will be an important part of their success. Studies show that alternative approaches to teaching (and working with students to foster their social and emotional needs, as well as ways to enhance empathy and compassion) are necessary to meet the diverse needs of today’s students.
Therapy dogs provide students with a myriad of benefits. Studies looking at therapy dogs in the classroom show improved class participation, more advanced critical thinking skills, more favorable outlooks towards schoolwork, improvements in reading and comprehension, and higher self-esteem as compared to students in non-therapy-dog programs. Researchers have found that, in schools, therapy dogs lead to less negative comments between students, increased use of praise, decreased distractibility, improved relationships, increased eye contact, more appropriate voice or tone with others, decreased tantrums, and decreased learning helplessness.
The school adopted Marley from Pawsibilities Unleased, a training organization for therapy dogs/canine counselors and service dogs. The administration chose this organization because of their reputation of successfully training and placing their animals since 1993. Another factor in choosing this organization was that Marley is a rescue, and was trained in a program in which they partner with a certified training program within a prison, Paw and Order, which aligned with the school’s goal of promoting Catholic Social Teaching.
The administration is excited for Marley to start as their new student next school year and is looking forward to the benefits their students will receive from having a therapy dog with them daily. This was made possible due to an anonymous donor and we are so very grateful to this angel!
Learn more about Marley from our announcement ceremony, as shared through local news outlets: