You may have noticed that Marley, our canine counselor, has already been working hard this new school year. He is enjoying seeing all the students in the hallways, at recess, and in the counselor’s office.
About Marley: Marley is a 4-year-old Aussie poodle mix who was rescued from Pawsibilities Unleashed in Frankfort, KY. Pawsibilities Unleashed is a nonprofit organization whose primary mission is to provide service dogs to people with disabilities, as well as training, certification, and insurance for therapy dogs. Marley was trained through Pawsibilities’ “Prison Canine Training Program, Paws N Order”. Check out the website for Pawsibilities Unleashed to learn more (https://www.pawsibilitiesunleashed.org/who-we-are).
Marley belongs to Holy Trinity and resides with Director of Student Achievement, Mrs. Billig, and her family who take wonderful care of him. Marley will be under the care of a school counselor while on school property. We have gained written permission from all parents to allow their children to interact with Marley. If a child does not feel comfortable interacting with Marley, they are not required to do so.
About Pet Therapy: So you may be thinking, “What is Pet Therapy?” A therapy animal is a pet that is trained with its owner, as a team, to provide comfort to others in a variety of situations. In addition to providing emotional and social support, therapy pets may also help individuals achieve physical and educational goals. To become a certified therapy pet, most organizations have evaluations - the handler and the pet must pass as a team. Check out this great research on the benefits of dog interactions:
A therapy animal is different than a service animal or an emotional support animal. A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. Emotional support animals do not require special training and their primary role is to provide emotional comfort, companionship, and affection to their owner.
Interaction Rules and Procedures: Our counselors stop by for quick visits and interaction times with students at recess and in the classrooms with a teacher's permission. Marley is also available in the counseling office for students, as needed, on the days he is “working”. Ms. Probus, Mrs. Cundiff, and our classroom teachers teach and review interaction expectations with our students to ensure all are safe and comfortable.