Therapy dog enrolls in South GA school district

Therapy dog enrolls in South GA school district

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - Thomasville City Schools are trying out a new way to make students feel more comfortable learning in the classroom.

When you walk into the library or a classroom at Scott Elementary in Thomasville you might notice something you don't see very often, a dog.

"We are really excited to have Ponder at our school, he is the first therapy dog for our district I believe and most certainly our school," said Scott Elementary Principal Brian Beaty.

Ponder is from Therapy Dogs International, his role is to make students at Scott Elementary feel more comfortable at school.

School staff said that so far, Ponder has helped in the classrooms.

To students, he is less intimidating than a human and does not pass judgment.

"So many students come with so many social and emotional issues with those barriers that we really have to break down before we can help them develop as a person and educate them," explained Beaty.

Research shows that children who participate in programs with therapy dogs not only improve their reading abilities but also become more enthusiastic readers, improve their performance in school and discover that learning can be fun.

"Ponder comes in and helps break down those barriers," said Beaty.

And of course, Ponder enjoys the love he gets as well.

Ponder will soon get an official schedule just like every other student and make classroom visits on a regular basis.

"We're hoping to get the Tail-Waggin' Tutor Program started soon, where we have a set schedule where he will come in and help with the kids and reading," said Beaty.

There are around 25,000 therapy dogs nationwide through Therapy Dogs International.

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