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  • Dee

    Dogs are so excellent at this work because they live in the here and now. Because they have mindfulness, because they are attuned to needs, because they are unselfish and giving. They're not worried about tormorrow, couldn't care less about yesterday, they want wonderful right here right now. For a dog, there's no glass half empty, there's only an overflowing glass of happy until proven wrong. They are so superior and better than us humans.

    I am a chapter leader of Love on A Leash, a national therapy pet organization. It is so great to see the dogs (and in our case a cat) recognized for the comfort and "happies" they can bring humans. There are very definitely differences between the varieties of dogs (and cats) in service. There are service dogs - they are trained and work for one particular person; there are therapy pets - they are there and open and loving toward anyone that needs that boost of pet love; there are the fads of "comfort dogs" etc. (not a group we participate with).

    There is so much to be said for what caring for animal does for the owner - you gotta get up and around and care for them, they give you "looks" that says you're slipping when you're not on your game, they give unconditional love to anybody open to it, and it brings you outside your own self-focused time zone.

    Our dogs (and cats) are anxious the minute they think they are going on a visit-visit, they will start agitating in our cars because they know where they're going, they know and are looking forward to seeing their "peeps", and they teach us so much IF we'll only listen and learn. Our group visits nursing homes, assisted living, hospitals, and special requests. We constantly are put in our place as humans seeing our dogs and cats interact and on visits look for their human or insist on sharing their love. They are so much better than us. And we are constantly put in our place by the outpouring of love for our pets by those we visit that are so missing their own pets of yesteryear.

    The world would be a better place if all of us acted as generously as the dogs (and cats!).

  • Anne

    These dogs are providing an invaluable service. I wish more schools had them to help students who experience trauma and violence on an everyday basis. Kudos to this school for recognizing the contributions these dogs make

  • Sam Petersen

    Dear ABC, please get your terminology straight. These wonderful animals are Therapy Animals used for Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) not emotional support animals (ESA). Therapy Animals go to places like Parkland School and help numerous people who want to come to them for the comfort and unconditional love they provide. If through a reputable organization, AAT animals are trained and registered (organizations like Pet Partners), and carry insurance through the national organization.

    ESAs are for an individual only, do not have to be registered or trained, anyone can claim their animal is an ESA. Nor are they generally insured.

    There are three levels of working animals outside of Police and Military. Service, Therapy. and ESAs. Please learn the difference between them.

  • C Williams

    I love it. Animals are amazing, and our loving and lovable pets are such a blessing. I think it’s beautiful that the comfort animals are getting recognized in the school yearbook.