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Olathe Public Schools to bring therapy dog to students

Posted at 4:58 PM, Jun 07, 2018

OLATHE, Kan. -- Students are facing even more stressors as violence breaks out at schools across the nation. Now, a local school district hopes a unique tool can bring kids some comfort. 

Therapy dogs are not a new concept, but soon one will be a new addition to Olathe Public Schools

"A dog just brings a sense of calm when they come in, and one of the main things we're working on in this building is that social and emotional regulation," said Jennifer Slaven, a social worker with Olathe Public Schools. 

Slaven works at Washington Elementary School and Santa Fe Trail Middle School. She said many students there are in need of more therapeutic support throughout the school day. 

"The number of kids dealing with mental illness and dealing with severe anxiety and severe depression is just constantly increasing," said Slaven. 

After researching the topic, Slaven adopted a dog that will soon train to become a therapy dog for both schools. 

"This is just one more tool I feel like that can reach some of the kids that maybe aren't able to be reached by some of the other traditional methods that we've used," said Slaven. 

The Alliance of Therapy Dogs said having therapy dogs in the classroom improves physical, social, cognitive, emotional and mental health in students of all ages. 

The Olathe Public Schools Foundation is raising money to cover the therapy dog training through Fund-A-Need

The dog is expected to be fully trained and ready to go for the 2018-2019 school year.