Glasgow Independent Schools brings on 2 therapy dogs

Glasgow Schools bring in Two Therapy dogs to help with student mental health
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 9:25 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Glasgow Independent School students are getting some new fuzzy friends.

Therapy dogs Winnie and Scout have only been with the district for a few weeks, but already have fans.

“Students have found so much joy in the dogs and the adults have found so much joy as well,” said District Mental Health Counselor, Bethany Gaffney. “There is something special about walking into a building and seeing the dogs light up a room.”

The labradoodles are the first therapy dogs in the district, a product of mental health counselors trying to think outside the box.

“That came up often is well ‘I, as a staff member, I have this pet that really helps me,’” said Mental Health Coordinator, Katrina Ayres. “Then researching other school districts, calling other school districts and asking them, ‘how does this dog in the school help you?’”

The dogs came specially trained from Deer Creek Labradoodles, a group that specializes in training therapy dogs.

“They can be used for lots of different purposes. For students, they may have a little bit of anxiety, they can alleviate some stress, and just elicit laughter,” Gaffney said. “Let’s face it, we all need laughter at this time in our lives.”

And they’ve certainly put in the work.

“We had them the first week of school and that first week is hard. Those kids who may be crying a little bit, miss their parents, have the ability to have a dog come in,” Ayres said. “It’s been a really positive experience for us.”

Winnie and Scout may be the first therapy dogs at Glasgow Independent Schools, but it seems like they won’t be the last.

“As far as the future, we don’t know what the future holds. The program is certainly going well right now,” Gaffney said. “We love our dogs and I think they love our students and we’re excited about opportunities that occur.”