RIDGEFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — In this week’s edition of What’s Right With Schools, Laura Hutchinson explains how students in Ridgefield find comfort in handling dogs at school.
“We started our own therapy dog program with our personal dogs that we have been fostering for Guiding Eyes for the Blind,” Lisa Frese, assistant principal at Scotts Ridge Middle School.
Onyx, Demi, Grady, Emerald and Quinn are just as much a part of the Scotts Ridge Middle School student body in Ridgefield as the actual students.
“I do look forward to seeing the dogs every morning,” student Reilly Donovan said. “They’re always sitting like in the entrance. You get to see them and say hi to them.”
After they greet them in the morning, they visit classes, providing any comfort or companionship as needed.
You might be wondering how the dogs get exercise and do their business. If a student is having a tough time, that’s their moment to grab the leash and take a lap around the school.
The students are in charge, managing their schedules and cleaning up after them — a job they take pride in.
“I would say of all the programs we have, this has made the greatest impact on the kids,” Frese said.
Sixth-grader Izzie Tarr said they know when a bit of support is needed.
“They know when you’re sad, too,” she said. “They’ll come up to you.”
The dogs boost morale as they juggle their own classroom assignments.