Hero is a 5-year-old black lab who was bred, raised, and trained by Pacific Assistance Dogs (PADs). Hero is an Accredited Facility Dog (AFD) and works in our school to support students. How can dogs support learners? Research shows how the presence of a dog can have physiological benefits for people of all ages. Simply petting and interacting with a dog can lower blood pressure, slow heart rates, alter cortisol rates, and increase levels of oxytocin. Collectively, these physiological changes can enhance our wellbeing. According to current research, children report a reduction in stress and overall increase in calmness and happiness in the presence of a dog. As well, dogs can positively influence social relations by bringing together diverse individuals through a shared love of animals. Dogs can also offer learners a safe medium to explore social-emotional learning, such as being welcoming and non-judgmental. This year, Hero will continue to connect with interested intermediate students in our “Walking with Hero” outings. As well, Hero will once again make the rounds to all Grade One classes to learn about self-regulation (work vs play). Hero also offers support to Aspenwood students who may be feeling anxious or upset; he is more than happy for some pets or snuggles to help kids feel more relaxed and ready to learn.
Please feel free to email Lindsay Hill with questions or comments as she loves nothing more than chatting about the role of dogs in education! firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Hero on Instagram: pads.hero