Piedmont High School Therapy Dog Program

Piedmont High School – one of ten public high schools in Union County Public Schools -- is located in Monroe, North Carolina, approximately 30 miles from Charlotte. I am one of five school counselors on staff. We serve roughly 1300 students. The data from Piedmont’s counseling office reports that 30% of the students seen by one of the counselors since Augusts 2019 was either for symptoms of anxiety, symptoms of depression, home life concerns and/or suicide ideation. In addition to our traditional track students, we serve five different populations of special education students. These classifications include: students on the Autism Spectrum, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and students who receive services due to being learning disabled or have a diagnosis of ADHD or other health impairment. We also serve two sub-groups of special education students who have a specialized curriculum and are classified based on low IQ and how they function in society.
UCPS supports the use of therapy dogs in the school setting. Currently, one middle school in the district has a therapy dog on site. Research has shown that therapy dogs support psychological well-being and academic growth while increasing social skills and self-esteem in children and adolescents. Therapy dogs have been trained to provide emotional support, which positively impacts reading skills, emotional functioning, and communication skills. In addition, the use of therapy dogs may decrease anxiety, improve self-esteem, and increase overall academic achievement in students.
This is a request to fund a therapy dog program at Piedmont High School. We already have a Golden Retriever from a breeder that specializes in therapy dogs. We need funds for the dog to attend five training classes in order to be certified as a therapy dog. The reaming costs would go toward initial setup and upkeep of the therapy dog program.

Funded by Awesome Without Borders (April 2020)