More than 30 students from Oklahoma Road Middle School had a unique opportunity to enjoy therapy dogs in schools courtesy of Petss on Wheels Therapy Dogs.
The nonprofit brings therapy animals to schools, hospitals, libraries, and institutions where people can benefit through contact with them. According to Carolyn Cherry, Oklahoma Road media specialist and former Pets on Wheels dog owner, the program allow children to emerge from their shells in a friendly atmosphere.
“Any time you can bring animals and students together, it’s a happy thing,” Cherry said. “It’s good for them to be together and in an atmosphere where they’re not being graded. Testing is coming up for some of them, and this is a way to relax before that happens.”
Kids enjoy reading to the dogs, which encourages practice, enjoyment, and positive reinforcement.
“Students who read to pets improve their reading skills, because pets are nonjudgmental,” Cherry said. “They’ll listen to you; they won’t criticize you, and you can just read on and on.”