S.B. 1-108 Therapy Dogs

Therapy Dog Requirment Bill is Debated

 

A returning bill (S.B. 1-108) that has presented itself once again at this year’s Youth In Government conference is “An Act to: MANDATE THAT ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS HAVE AT LEAST ONE THERAPY DOG ON CAMPUS.” Alicia Wu, a student from Fairview High School strongly believes that “therapy dogs will help a student keep calm during stressful times by lowering anxiety” (https://www.today.com/pets/schools-give-stressed-out-students-therapy

-dogs-yoga-1B8197212).  But Lobbyist Deyanira Mendoza could not disagree more. “It’s my personal belief that the students would be distracted by the presence of a dog, and would use that as an excuse to get out of class to simply to pet a dog. Also, I don’t think they took into consideration how much on-the-side effort it would take to keep a dog on campus at all times.”

We are in agreement with Mendoza that there are various factors that make having a canine in a school environment a dangerous situation. In order for a program like this to be successful, it must be developed with care, which the bill does not go over or enforce. The following is a set of guidelines that should be implemented: to determine who is going to be in charge of the program that will be established, and make sure that all admin approve of the program and entirely understand what it entails. It is also very important to recognize which children are not cut out to be around the animals, maybe due to an allergy or fear. I also, do not believe that the author took the fact that the dog needs to be up to date on vaccinations and vet visits into consideration, which will ultimately affect the budget.

According to Nurse Bridgid, a source in which medical information seems to be concise and credible, they stated, “One reason that some doctors don’t buy into it is that the research studies that have been published aren’t the strongest scientifically speaking, they aren’t studying the neuron effects of patients as they get therapy with a dog, for example, instead they report based upon the patients’ actions and reported feelings after therapies” (http://www.nursebridgid.com/2013/01/animal-assisted-therapy-pro-or-con.html).  Even though this bill could have the potential to aid students in dealing with stress, I do not believe, in its current state, the bill covers everything that it needs to.

Authors: Adaline Lang and Shierinna Walker

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