Teacher at Twin Lakes High School working to get therapy dog

One teacher in White County is working to impact students lives in a different way.

Posted: Dec 22, 2019 11:23 AM
Updated: Dec 22, 2019 11:45 PM

WHITE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)—Samantha McAtee is the Director of School Counseling at Twin Lakes High School and she's working to have a certified therapy dog.

"I have wanted to have a therapy dog for the last couple of years,” said McAtee.

McAtee said there are many reasons why having a therapy dog in school would help students.

"It helps them interact, it helps them empathy and problem solving,” said McAtee.

But getting a therapy dog has come with some challenges.

"The big concern at this point that the school board is having is how is a therapy dog really going to improve our social and emotional learning at the school,” said McAtee.

McAtee said after the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, research has proved that therapy dogs can help.

"That is when comfort dogs really came to the forefront and research was just booming on the impact that animals can have on humans and especially children and teens,” said McAtee

According to a Twin Lakes High School survey, 78.9% of students feel the school would benefit from a therapy dog. 82% feel a therapy dog would help reduce stress, anxiety and depression while at school.

"Basically since 9/11, therapy dogs have been in use,” said McAtee. “Comfort dogs as they were called at one point have been in use."

One student said she'd love to see a therapy dog around the school.

"I think it'd be good for the students at Twin Lakes,” said Danielle D'Andrea. “Because I think, especially during finals week we get really stressed out and it's hard for us to relax."

 D'Andrea said that therapy dogs would create a comforting environment for students.

"It'd be good just to have something that you know reminds us that school isn't all, you know, super tense situations, super studious things that we're supposed to be having fun here as well,” said D'Andrea.

McAtee said she will raise the money through fundraising and applying for grants.

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