Sign In

Therapy Dog Helps Students With Stress

May 27, 2020

There’s a new face walking the halls at St. Xavier High School.

He’s about two feet tall, yellow and covered in fur.

The all-boys Catholic school has been buzzing with excitement to welcome Evan.

The 2-year-old golden retriever is the school’s new therapy dog.

“Seeing him in the hallway brings a smile to our faces and something to look forward to during the school day,” said senior Daniel Baptist.

Along with a few counselros, Jason Ahlers, asst. principal for student services, spent two weeks in training before Evan was introduced to the school last Monday.

“We have to remember that Evan is a working dog and when he has his working gear on, he wears a bandanna that says Circle Tail and has his name, that he’s treated one way. He’s not a pet here,” said Ahlers.

The school said it wants to support the health and wellness of faculty and students.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, depression and anxiety in children ages 6-17 has increased.

Students said support is imperative.

“It helps to talk about it and understand we all go through it,” said junior Michael Niceley.

Therapy dogs are proven to reduce anxiety and stress and improve self-esteem.

If a student needs time with Evan, a trainer says, “Can you visit?” and the canine stays with the student who may need a moment of zen.

“Evan gives adults and students just the chance to be away from their job. For students, this is a serious job. They’re working hard to accomplish things and Evan gives them a little respite where they see him and light up immediately,” said Ahlers.

This is a pilot program in partnership with the Hamilton County Education Service Center and Circle Tail, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide service and hearing dogs to people with disabilities.

School officials will have conversations at the end of this semester about how things went and the best way to move forward.

The family of a student is acting a host family for Evan when he isn’t working at school.

Register your Dog Schedule a Visit

  • Recent News

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogs At School

    Those who own a dog can attest to their ability to lift mood, improve stress and bring joy by simply being there, unanswering, seemingly all-knowing and always delighted to see you.  Therapy animals are known for their calm and comforting nature, giving people a way to relax, de-stress and interact with a loving pet.  They […]

    Read more

    Wonder Dog

    For those of us with dogs, we know they quickly become major parts of the family. You live for and care for just like one of your own children, and one dog right here in Oklahoma City is beating the odds, and helping others recover as a therapy dog, despite all of the issues he’s […]

    Read more

    Scott And Charlie

    Cherokee Middle School students may do a little more “doodling” second semester starting this month (January), but also will improve their attendance marks because of a special attraction at the school, courtesy of Principal Scott Aden. Aden, an effective, caring administrator, has acquired and will house and handle a young female Golden Doodle (Charlie) that […]

    Read more

    Hope For Veterans

    E5 Therapy opened in April with a different way to help veterans in therapy. They offer canine-assisted therapy along with talk therapy to veterans and veterans’ families in Solano County. Owner Matthew Decker is a licensed clinical social worker in Northern California, focused on helping veterans achieve their mental health goals. Along with his team, […]

    Read more