Dogs have been instrumental in helping people cope with their emotions. According to an article in National Geographic, a little girl who was present at the school shooting in Newtown, CT hadn’t spoken since the incident. She was finally able to start talking to her mother again after spending time with a therapy dog.
As stories like this one become more and more common, psychologists are beginning to ask what potential benefits dogs can provide beyond cases of trauma or illness—especially for children.
One possibility is helping kids learn to read.
In Hendersonville, NC, children who are having a difficult time learning to read can now schedule time with a therapy dog at their local library to help them improve their reading skills.
The program started last October when Rachelle Sher, an owner of a therapy dog, offered her pup’s services to Fletcher Library. Spending just a short amount of time with the dogs has had a significant impact on numerous children.
It turns out that just as the pressure-free, judgment-free interaction with a dog can encourage kids to open up after traumatic events, it can also help them feel more comfortable and confident in expressing themselves in an academic setting.
What are some other unconventional ways that dogs might be able to help people?