Litz welcomes therapy dogs

Due to the rewriting of an FCPS regulation, therapy dogs will be available in the coming months to provide stress relief and relaxation.

Principal Jeff Litz has worked for over a school year to rewrite this regulation, which does not allow therapy dogs on school campuses.

“It’s a small measure, but I think it’s something that when a kid is having a really bad day, they’re stressed out and whatnot, they will just come and spend some time with a dog, and there’s a lot of research around it that it can help,” Litz said.

There have been many obstacles such as potential allergies, but Litz is dedicated to the issue of mental health and hopes this is one step to creating a less stressful environment.

Therapy Dogs International will provide the dogs and a study TDI conducted over a two year period reported that in a sample of 200 respondents, 92 percent experienced positive mood alterations as a result of their therapy dogs.

“I know some of my friends are undergoing a bunch of stress and complaining about the amount of homework and work we have to do, so I feel like it’s a great opportunity to relieve stress and enjoy our life,” sophomore and SGA member Luka Gaeitsinashvile said.

Litz notified the class’ SGA officers of his efforts to bring therapy dogs to school during their monthly November meeting.

“[The SGA members] were very supportive,” Litz said. “They thought that it was a good idea and they said that they’d be willing to help in any way that they could.”

The SGA is already tentatively planning a Stress Less Week as both an overall relaxation initiative and as an opportunity to introduce the dogs.

“There will be a launching event,” SGA member and sophomore Alexis Bacon said. “We’ll start off with the Stress Less Week to introduce the dogs.”

This project is a part of Litz’s and the faculty’s broader efforts to foster an encouraging learning experience.

“I think that this is just another thing that you do when you’re a community,” Litz said. “This is one small way that I feel we can help build another aspect to the culture of support that we have here at Marshall.”
Expect to see some furry faces around campus in the coming months.

dogs-pic-bottom dogs-pic-top

Top: Sophomores Alexis Bacon, Rohan Shah and Luka Gaeitsinashvile watch a slideshow of the upcoming therapy dogs on TDI’s website.
Bottom: Shah discusses the TDI website with Bacon.
“I think it’s just a really great opportunity for everyone to de-stress and see something that makes them happy,” Bacon said.