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Kiski Area School District Learning Has No Boundaries - Every Child. Every Classroom. Every Day.

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Student & Parent Support » Therapy Dogs

Therapy Dogs

Roo's Profile
Roo is a seven-month-old rescue dog who is also deaf. The exact breed of dog is unknown, but with all of her spots, we believe she has to have a Dalmatian in her somewhere! With the help of her handlers and Luck Paws in Cranberry, Twp., she currently knows many signs such as sit, stay, come, no, good dog, check-in, lay down, and a greeting with her paw.
KASD would like to thank Tiny Cause in Vandergrift for helping us share Roo with the district and bringing our students and staff so much joy.
Follow Roo on Instagram: roo_the_therapy_dog_KASD
The Kiski Area School District prides itself on considering students' and staff's overall academic and emotional support needs. Along with numerous mental health programs and professional development, the Kiski Area School District also has a therapy dog that supports students and staff around the entire district.
Commonly Asked Questions:
1. Why is a therapy dog important?
Numerous studies have demonstrated the positive benefits of a therapy dog, including socio-emotional and cognitive support. Some of the benefits of a therapy dog can include (Alliance of Therapy Dogs): 
  • Promotes a positive mood
  • Anti-stress effects on students
  • Reading fluency increased by 12% to 30%
  • Improving motivation
  • Increased school attendance
  • Growth in confidence
  • Development of better and stronger relationships with teachers and peers
  • Developing social skills
  • Teaching empathy and proper interpersonal skills
  • Develop skills to pick up social cues required for human relationships
2. What does a therapy dog do? (Besides, bringing smiles wherever they go.)
Therapy dogs are trained to provide comfort and affection to people other than their handlers or owners. There are numerous examples of therapy dog interactions in schools.
  • Giving students the confidence to read out loud (students read to the therapy dog)
  • De-escalating a student who is extremely anxious or upset by having the therapy dog available for positive interactions
  • Working with students on life skills to learn how to take care of something besides themselves
  • Taking the dog for walks to reinforce physical activity
  • And many more...
3. Who is responsible for the therapy dog?
The main handler is responsible for the care and training of the dog. In KASD's case, the district superintendent, Dr. Slavic, takes responsibility for the therapy dog by assuming responsibility for the dog's care, behavior, and suitability for interacting with students and others in the school while the therapy dog is on district property. 
4. What are the district's guidelines for having a therapy dog?
A therapy dog must have the appropriate proof of license, health and vaccinations, insurance, and identification available in the Central Office for review.
5. What if my student is allergic to or scared of dogs?
The handler will remove the dog to a separate area away from the student, as designated by the school administrator.