‘Paws for Warwick’ sets goal at $30,000

By on December 12, 2018

Daily anxiety. Depression. Grief. Suicidal thoughts.

Many students have been identified as struggling with these issues, and even the youngest are not immune.

The Warwick School District is looking to man’s best friend as a tool to overcome these concerns by launching a Facility Dog Program in Warwick schools, with the Warwick Education Foundation leading the fundraising campaign.

Called “Paws for Warwick,” the Foundation has created a giving platform where community members can securely make tax-deductible contributions that will raise $30,000 for the purchase and provision of three Facility Therapy Dogs.

According to Warwick Education Foundation Executive Director Barbara Mobley, Facility Therapy Dogs were successfully utilized in Warwick High School in response to the recent tragedies involving students. District administrators saw the peaceful benefits of Facility Therapy Dog interaction with students in times of crisis. That experience, coupled with previous extensive research, accelerated the timing to launch a districtwide program. The school district currently has funding for three facility dogs. This campaign will support three additional dogs, allowing for placement of a facility dog in each Warwick school building. 

“Facility dogs are for all students,” notes Mobley. “Their presence in schools allows teachers and staff to better meet student needs, keep them safe, and ease difficult situations. They’re calm, obedient and highly intelligent in their ability to interact with people of all age groups.”

Research has shown that therapy dogs can provide a sense of connection in challenging situations, reduce symptoms of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, and improve self-esteem and motivation. However, unlike service dogs, these animals do not offer specific support for a physical challenge such as sight or hearing difficulties.

Given the success of the human-animal bond, many schools and colleges are adopting these programs as a cost-effective means of providing social and emotional support for students and promoting learning. Some have experienced increased attendance and academic productivity after incorporating facility dogs in their educational programs. “Many students struggle with depression and daily anxiety — regardless of age or grade level,” notes Mobley. “What’s more, the recent tragedies in our district have added a new layer of complex emotions to life. What we need is a new, creative method of delivering emotional support inside our schools.”

For more information or to donate, visit PawsforWarwick.com.

A video about the initiative can be found here.

About Cory Van Brookhoven

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