There is a lot of anecdotal
information and research about the benefits of pets and in particular, therapy
or assistance animals, most commonly dogs. Dogs have been used in aged care
facilities, in prisons, with children and families living with autism, for
educational support and in trauma units to assist those with emotional needs.
Dogs break down barriers and elicit from most people a very warm response
and many smiles. They are very good at calming down stressed people or those
Kyzer is a therapy dog who works
at Chisholm Catholic College in Bedford with his owner and trainer, Julie
Guilfoyle. He is a 4-year-old Golden Retriever with a very strong intuitive sense
about people. He is used in the classroom to assist those students with special
needs or are highly anxious. He is an extremely popular member of staff and
spends his recess and lunch out and about or in the library. He works three days a week and
is an integral part of the care provided for students and staff.
Kyzer visited La Salle on
Friday 1 June to see the response from the students with a view to possibly
facilitating our own College therapy dog some time in the future. He visited
about 5 classes and was met with an overwhelmingly positive response. Even a
student who was quite afraid of dogs, managed to pat Kyzer!
There are a lot of issues
involved in starting up a programme such as this but in the end, it will be
worth it to have a suitable and affectionate dog in the College, perhaps only 1
or 2 days a week, to provide friendship and support for students.