Teachers and students at an American elementary school have launched a fund-raising campaign to cover the cost of three surgeries required by their beloved service dog, who has helped the school calm students with special needs during bursts of emotional turmoil. Named Ory, the 16-month-old pup has degenerative hips and it has also torn key ligaments in both its knees.The school community in the US state of Maine has set up the GoFundMe drive to raise USD 20,000 needed for the surgeries, the WABI 5reported. Staff and students are calling the fundraiser,"Pennies for Paws."
The community members have also set up a webpage to raise the fund. Jess Jones, an Ed Tech at the Willard School, stated that the surgery will help Ory to livea long healthy and fulfilling life, making him free from pain.
Since joining the school last year, when she was only eight weeks old, Ory has helped a number of school students in difficult times.
“She’s only 16 months and she deserves that opportunity to have a great life. The vet said her life will be amazing once this is done and dealt with," Christen Suratt, a teacher at Willard School who works with Ory, told the local news station.
Studies have shown that service/therapy dogs can reduce stress and provide students with social and emotional support. Given their impact on kids, American schools are increasingly adopting therapy dog programmes amid rising violence around educational institutions in the country.
There are several benefits of using therapy dogs in schools. They can:
- help kids going through turbulent times develop social skills.
- be soothing. The presence of pet animals de-stresses the environment, studies say.
- teach empathy and help develop interpersonal skills.
- improve children’s skills to pick up social cues. Researchers say students report significantly less stress and anxiety around therapy dogs.