Ben Williams, author of numerous award-winning novels once said, “ There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.” It is no secret that dogs bring healing and love to us when we need comfort. They bring us protection when we need protecting. But most importantly, dogs bring us loyalty and they are always there for us. People of all ages can and do change when they gain a new four legged friend to journey through life with. Animals are miracle workers that can change a person's emotional and physical status for the better when there is no hope for life to get better. Dogs truly are a human’s best friends and they have left an impact on the lives of children with special needs, PTSD patients, and the elderly.
Therapy dogs have become increasingly more popular over the last few years because of new findings of positives of humans and dogs bonding with each other. These dogs lift people's spirits and offer unconditional love. (Nelson) One of the most affected groups of people includes, children with special needs. Dogs bring comfort to children with special needs because dogs do not judge them and dogs are always there to give a helping hand. Here are just a few personal testimonies of children whose lives have been positively affected by therapy dogs.
One child, Tom, was a sixth-grade student who lacked control in most areas of his life. (Reader note. Names used in the article have been changed to protect the identity of students.) He was in a foster home that was not working well for him. Tom was going to be placed in a different home with a new school that would require many changes. Not having much human affection in his life, he had learned behaviors to keep others at a distance. But his whole demeanor changed when he was with Blaze. Tom was affectionate with Blaze. He would laugh when he was with Blaze and hug and play with him. Tom would have an unhappy face when he entered my room, but he would leave in smiles. He particularly enjoyed "training" Blaze. I showed Tom the commands that Blaze knew and how I work with the dog. Tom enjoyed having Blaze respond to him. I believe that for a little while, Tom's sense of control added to his self-esteem. (Burton)
I used Blaze with first-grade students in their guidance lessons. When the first-grade classes were involved in a unit on animal life, the teachers asked if I would do a guidance lesson on responsibility, basic needs, and kindness, using Blaze to tie into their unit. Before the lesson, I sent a letter to parents to ask whether their children had any fear of animals, or any allergies to them. These lessons worked out beautifully. The children were an enthusiastic audience! The opportunity to brush Blaze was a first experience with pets for some of the children. One class used the visit in a language arts lesson as well, by writing thank-you notes to Blaze after his lesson! (Burton)
Dogs are often used in schools to help children with special needs. Each week...