Nichole Hannahs

Dogs That Help Heal

by Nichole Hannahs on December 18, 2012 at 6:37 am

Therapy dogs share a special gift of comfort for both children and adults.

In Newtown, Connecticut dogs are being used to help the community and children heal after last week’s tragedy.

Here in Muskingum County, there’s also a group of therapy dogs at work. One of those is Mac. Through the Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center, Mac, sits with children while they read.

"Mac doesn’t say a whole lot. He’s not very judgmental and kids can read to him without fear of being judged of anybody correcting them of telling them they’re wrong and especially kids that have problems with reading it really lowers they’re inhibition," explained Therapy Dog Handler Katie West.

West said that studies show that dogs actually lower blood pressure. She said the dog also brings a smile to children’s faces when it enters into their building, which is why she said the use of these animals in Newtown is so beneficial.

"They’re using dogs in Newtown, Connecticut right now to comfort these people and these children and I think it’s a marvelous thing because the dog is not going to say anything to you. The dog is not going to try and fix things. The dog is just going to be there for you to love and give you comfort and they are phenomenal at that," added West.

West said that Mac was specially trained to visit schools in our county. He’s a certified safe dog which means teachers and principals know he won’t bite and he was tested by Therapy Dogs International.