Almond’s New Therapy Dogs!

Ifra Waris, Staff Writer

Yes, that’s right, Warren’s Almond Campus is getting its very own therapy dogs. I mean, who wouldn’t be excited to see the lovable and comforting dogs on campus every week? Kella and Magnus, both golden retrievers, will be having weekly therapy visits to the campus; you can visit them during your lunch period or study hall and even sign up to become a guide for the dogs. 

After a lot of positive feedback following the de-stress fest last year, the social workers at the Almond campus, Ms. Tragarz and Mrs. Alcala, thought that having therapy dogs on campus more often would be a great idea. “There is an increasing trend of having full-time therapy dogs in other schools and colleges,” Ms. Tragarz stated when asked about the reasoning behind the new addition to campus. “Therapy dogs offer benefits such as bringing a sense of calmness – it’s something different, a break in our busy days. And it’s not just students, staff members love them too!”

Research shows that therapy dogs can be extremely beneficial for your mental and physical health. According to the UCLA Health organization, pet therapy lowers blood pressure, improves cardiovascular health, reduces anxiety, and releases the hormone phenylethylamine, which can have the same effect as chocolate. Additionally, children with autism are able to create bonds with animals and relate better to them than humans. What’s more, pet therapy reduces loneliness and increases mental stimulation. All of these benefits of pet therapy emphasize how important it is to have a therapy dog, especially on a high school campus, where students are struggling with depression, loneliness, and anxiety daily.

The exact schedules for Kella and Magnus are still being finalized; however, the goal is to eventually have a full-time dog on campus. The social workers hope that in the future, the O’Plaine campus can have this facility as well. It requires a lot of coordination and work behind the scenes to make things like this happen. Upcoming dates for Kella are October 11th and 18th, while Magnus is only available on certain Tuesdays and Thursdays. Keep in mind that they are only here for certain lunch periods on the days they are visiting. Ms. Tragarz and Mrs. Alcala do intend on holding petting sessions on some days during lunch/study halls where students can come in and spend some valuable time with the dogs. Be sure to listen to the announcements for more information about when the dogs will be visiting on campus; I’m sure the Almond campus is ready to welcome our furry friends to school!