Trained Dog Can Help, Comfort Students

By Julie Marks, Director of Counseling Services – Goshen Campus Devan

It is well known, and has been extensively researched, that interaction with a gentle, friendly pet provides great benefits. Studies show that dogs can reduce stress and anxiety, provide comfort, and lessen depressed feelings in both children and adults. In a school setting, a trained dog can also help teach social/emotional skills such as empathy, acceptance, and nurturing. Our own Walter Denham has worked with local service dog organization Paws for Purpose for the past four years. His black lab, Devan, has undergone intensive training and is ready to come out to St. Francis to assist in the Counseling Office. In order to minimize contact with children who are afraid of dogs or are allergic, Devan will primarily stay in the Counseling Office. It is my hope that Devan will begin coming out to school one day a week beginning after Winter Break and will increase her time at school as she gains comfort in our setting. Devan will be a great asset to the students at St. Francis, and I am excited for the students to meet her. If you have any questions or concerns, please email me or call me at 795-3476.