Updated: Feb 4, 2021
USE OF ANIMAL-ASSISTED THERAPY DOGS IN SCHOOLS
MSAD #60 has a long-standing practice of supporting Animal-Assisted Therapy AAT dogs (AAT dogs) overseen by district employees, specifically Guidance Counselors and Social Workers. Benefits from working or visiting with an AAT dog include reduced stress, improved physical and emotional well-being, lower blood pressure, decreased anxiety, improved self esteem and normalization of the environment, increasing the likelihood of successful academic achievement by the student. Examples of activities that students may engage in with an employee’s AAT dog include petting and/or hugging the dog, speaking to the dog, giving the dog simple commands that the dog is trained to respond to and reading to the dog.
An AAT dog is a dog who has been individually trained, evaluated and registered with his/her handler to provide animal-assisted activities and animal-assisted interactions within a school or other facility. AAT dogs are not "emotional support animals" or "service animals."
Animal-assisted activities and animal-assisted interactions are non-goal-driven interactions where the specific content of the visit is spontaneous and is meant to provide motivational, educational and/or recreational activities that enhance the quality of life.
A handler is an individual school district staff member who owns an AAT dog and who has been individually trained, evaluated, and registered with his/her AAT dog to provide animal assisted- activities and animal- assisted interactions within a school or other facility.
An AAT dog is the personal property of the handler and is not the property of the school district. The handler shall assume full responsibility for the AAT dog's care, behavior and suitability for interacting with students and others in the school while the AAT dog is on school district property.
Cross Reference: IMG Animals in Schools
IMGB-R Animal- Assisted Therapy Dogs and Procedures
IMGB-E Animal- Assisted Therapy Dogs Request
Adopted: June 12, 2019