Therapy Dogs

Image 8

Meet Ginger and Persis!


Our school is fortunate to have registered therapy dogs in our midst!

Ginger, a miniature Golden-doodle, has been serving others through working in schools, libraries and hospitals for the last ten years. She is available most days to students needing a little extra attention during the day, and she stays with Mrs. Detter in her second grade classroom.

The Alliance of Therapy Dogs website cites that one of the most significant impacts that therapy dogs can make in the classroom is students’ socio-emotional development.  Besides their training, therapy dogs bring their lovable and loving characteristics.  These friendly companions are good listeners and offer great companionship and an audience to children without making any judgments.

Students can bond readily with therapy dogs, feeling more connected and confident.  Studies show that this helps reduce negative behavior in children.  Spending time with dogs also helps improve children’s mental well-being.  There is intense pressure on children in school environments.  Therapy dogs help children learn social skills, preventing social isolation.

Interaction with therapy dogs has also been found to cause a social catalyst effect, and this further helps improve the stimulation of social behavior.  The relationships between the dogs and students help develop trust in children, and such children are also more likely to develop a broader capacity for empathy.

Cognitive Benefits

Besides positively impacting children’s emotional well-being, therapy dogs also contribute to cognitive development.  Some of the key benefits of interacting with therapy dogs are as follows:

  • Improved reading skills
  • Enhanced executive-functioning skills
  • Stimulating memory and problem-solving skills

Studies show that the very presence in an educational environment tends to improve the areas of attention, concentration, relaxation, and motivation.  This helps in reducing stress levels that would otherwise affect proper learning.

Relevant Research Studies

According to a 2019 National Institute of Health study, the presence of a dog in a classroom can help promote a positive mood.  The study also recorded the notable anti-stress effects on the body of students.

Another University of California study involving canine reading programs made another exciting discovery.  Students participating in a program experienced their reading fluency increasing by 12% to 30%.

Benefits for School Students

Numerous research studies have demonstrated how therapy dogs can help address school-age students’ social and emotional learning needs.  We have therapy dog programs with a proven track record of improving motivation for learning in children, resulting in improved outcomes.

Therapy dogs are increasingly used to support children in addressing their social and emotional learning needs in schools.  This has also been found to help with literacy development.  Some of the benefits recorded in school classrooms include:

  • Increased school attendance
  • Positive changes lead to better learning and enhanced motivation
  • Growth in confidence levels
  • Development of better and stronger relationships with teachers and peers due to the experience of trust and love with therapy dogs.  Children learn ways to express their feelings and develop more trusting relationships
  • Reducing learner anxiety behaviors causes improvement in learning outcomes like improved reading and writing skills and levels

Despite these well-established facts about the benefits of therapy dogs for children, many schools still overlook the importance of this strategy.  Some of the common concerns that prevent schools from embracing these programs include:

  • Sanitation concerns
  • Ensuring safe dog temperaments

At Alliance of Therapy Dogs, our therapy dogs are carefully selected, trained, and certified before enrolling in any program.

Ginger is fully insured and vaccinated; her paperwork is on file in the office.

2023-09-18 09.23.36


Persis will continue visiting us here at ILCA on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month that school is in session. Persis and her handlers are here from 9-11 am.  Below is Persis' schedule while she is here.
  • 9-9:30 am- Kindergarten in the library
  • 9:30-10:00 am- 2nd grade in the library
  • 10:00-10:30 am- 3rd grade in the library
  • 10:30-11:00 am- 1st grade in the first-grade classroom
If you would like to see her during one of the times above, please feel free to do so. If you have a student that you think would like to spend time with Persis or you would like your class to have an opportunity to visit with her like K-3, please let me know, and we can try and make arrangements with Persis' handlers. Below is more information regarding the LCC comfort dog program.
Reach out to Lori Clark with questions.

LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry®


Launched in August 2008, the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry is a national human-care ministry embracing the unique, calming nature and skills of purebred Golden Retrievers. The LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs are a bridge for compassionate ministry, opening doors for conversation about faith and creating opportunities to share the mercy, compassion, presence and proclamation of Jesus Christ.

LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs are working animals, trained to interact with people of all ages and circumstances who are suffering and in need. The dogs participate in scheduled and special events. Dogs are permanently placed with churches, schools and other ministries involved in Christian human care by LCC. Permanent placement includes full training for handlers and caregivers along with ongoing support, coaching and training. LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs live in the homes of assigned caregivers.

The LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs serve every day in the community in which they are placed and are deployed in times of disaster and crisis to bring comfort to all those affected, including first responders and the volunteers who serve them. LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs were in New York and New Jersey visiting victims of Superstorm Sandy, and in Connecticut after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Lutheran Church Charities currently has over 130 LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs serving in more than 27 states. LCC operates three training facilities in Illinois. LCC never charges those we serve. We are able to do that with the support of donors. If you would like to help us, click here.