Liane Benedict, staff development coordinator at the Center for Instruction, Technology & Innovation, brought eight nine-month-old yellow Labrador puppies to the program in the basement of Sheldon Hall at SUNY Oswego. CARE students adored the puppies as they snuggled, napped and kissed the students while they completed assignments.
Benedict, who spends a half-day at the program each Thursday teaching mindfulness techniques, said animal therapy had completely shifted their energy, helped the students refocus and made them happy. CARE Principal Robyn Proud said that connection allowed the students to manage emotions in healthy ways, which is a huge fete for her population of students.
“Your emotions effect the puppies’ actions,” said student Shiann Smith (Altmar-Parish Williamstown Central School District).
Benedict said those connections show how engaged the students are in mindfulness techniques.
“It’s a positive impact,” she said. “The work we do isn’t just about standards and tests. We’re tapping into the whole person.”
CARE teaching assistant Katherine Strieter said it was nice to see the group of students relaxed, quiet and focused.
The puppies were special guests-of-the-day from Laughing Labrador Farms. Several students said they would like to have dogs return to the program someday.