Therapy dog visits during lunch and 8th period


Grace Sharma

Senior Caroline Xu excitedly pets Mo, a therapy dog, during A block on Friday, Sept. 16. The therapy dogs were provided by PAL and can help students manage stress and anxiety. “They are very calming, even if it’s just for a few minutes,” Mo’s owner, Ruth Badner, said.

Grace Sharma, Staff Writer

People. Animals. Love. (PAL) provided a therapy dog for Jefferson students on Friday, Sept. 16 during lunch and 8th period. PAL dogs have made previous visits during the school day last year, as well. 

With a focus on using animals to comfort suffering people and children, PAL provides both in-person and online visits with their animals. Friday’s therapy dog, Uncle Mo, visited Jefferson during 8th period with his owner, Ruth Badner. 

“When I got Mo I knew that he had the right personality,” Badner said. “He was about a year-and-a-half old when I got him and I knew he would be good for therapy work.”

After hearing about an opportunity for calmer dogs to spend time emotionally relaxing horses, Badner took Mo to get training.

“We went to a school and he got a little training and an evaluation,” Badner said. “He did really well and he seems to like it.” 

Therapy dogs can help an individual boost their mood, manage their anxiety, and provide comfort. Jefferson students experience excessive stress and anxiety, and a few minutes with a therapy dog can help them manage it.

“[Dogs] are very calming and take your mind off everything for a while, even if it’s just a few minutes,” Badner said. “I suppose touching, as well, helps a lot when you’re stressed.” 

In addition to stress management, PAL provides students with new opportunities to spend time with animals they might not have had the chance to previously. 

“I’ve always had cats my whole life and the only time I’ve had dogs was if neighbors or relatives had them,” freshman Fatima Laoufir said. “I thought, ‘Why not be introduced to a dog today?’”

Laoufir also believes that therapy dogs provide a good stress management alternative for students who may not be comfortable talking with a counselor. 

“There are so many things an animal can do, especially when it comes to mental health,” Laoufir said. “They’re so innocent. You can’t be mad at this.”