The field of animal therapy has progressively expanded and gained popularity as a new healing modality, and Plainville High School is one of many schools, country-wide, that has taken advantage of the many benefits therapy animals provide.
Animals have served as domestic companions for centuries, but are now being integrated into various programs designed to promote happiness, enhance reading and communication skills, aid in physical therapy and rehabilitation, reduce stress or provide post-traumatic relief and relaxation, improve social and communication skills, and offer companionship. The overall goal of animal-assisted therapy is to improve cognitive, social, and emotional functioning in a variety of formal and informal settings.
In January of 2011, Plainville High School introduced its first animal therapy dog, Bo. Bo played an integral role in creating a relaxed, uplifting environment that provided immediate relief from daily stressors. Not only did Bo spread positive energy and joy, his presence also opened lines of communication and formed many new friendships among students, staff and faculty members. Bo's therapeutic effect even overshadowed his educational duty to teach selected students about pet care and responsibility. Bo's presence helped bring students together and initiated small talk, whether he was being petted, performing tricks for treats, or retrieving a Frisbee. His welcoming presence gained popularity throughout the school and he put smiles on the faces of everyone he greeted! In February of 2016, Bo passed away at the age 14. The loss was difficult for many staff members, faculty members, and students. Although Bo's passing was a sudden, difficult time, it brought to light the impact he truly had within the building.
To continue on with Bo's legacy, Plainville High School has welcomed Duke, an energetic retriever mix, who will continue where Bo left off. Duke is a highly trained, well-mannered, sprightly rescue originally from Louisiana. He has all the makings of a pet therapy dog and is in the midst of gaining his certification. He has already become a popular topic among students, and the high school community has graciously welcomed him. "We are excited to integrate Duke into various life skills, physical education, and special education classes," noted Plainville High School Physical Education teacher and owner, Sarah Centore.
"We are excited to welcome Duke to the Plainville High School community. Duke has the unique ability to bring people together, while also assisting in providing many social-emotional benefits to our students, faculty, and staff," commented Plainville High School Principal, Roberto Medic.
-Posted on October 21, 2016 at 11:54 AM
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