Certified Therapy Dogs Arrive in Trussville City Schools
(TCS) - The first weekend in May was an exciting time for Service Dogs Alabama (SDA) and Trussville City Schools - as the two organizations partnered on an exciting new venture.
Two Certified Facility Dogs completed all training and have found placement in two Trussville City Schools.
Skye, Hewitt-Trussville High School’s Certified Facility Dog, completed training and has transitioned to begin assisting students and staff. Skye has been skillfully trained to serve her new educational setting by assisting with intervention tasks and breaking patterns of disruptive behaviors in classrooms, counseling sessions, and in testing spaces. Laura Stalls, Counselor at Hewitt-Trussville High School, is Skye’s handler.
Bullet, Hewitt-Trussville Middle School’s Facility Intervention Dog, completed the same training as Skye and has transitioned to his new educational setting. Krista DeMent, Counselor at Hewitt-Trussville Middle School, is Bullet’s handler. Assistant Principal Erin Piper is currently serving as handler for Atom, another Certified Facility Dog, who is on temporary assignment at HTMS.
Research has indicated that dogs can impact student performance by reducing stress and increasing motivation, focus, and task persistence. Skye, Bullet, and Atom have been placed with assistance from the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE). Trussville City Schools applied for this program through ALSDE pre-pandemic.
SDA is a committed, long-term partner for recipients of Facility Intervention Dogs. After the transfer of a facility dog, once a month for the first six months, then once every three months for the remainder of the first year, and annually after that, the SDA transition team will check-in for support, questions, and suggestions with each recipient. All dogs placed by our program stay in our system for monitoring for the working life of the dog and receive the required annual re-certification and training for three years. Facility Intervention Dog teams are evaluated and provided updated training for those three years to ensure that their Facility Dog continues to meet their unique needs.
Service Dogs Alabama is the oldest and largest non-profit organization in Alabama and has placed over 85 dogs with qualified individuals/facilities throughout the State of Alabama. Serving both veterans and children with disabilities, providing medical and psychological assistance dogs to children, adults, and veterans with disabilities, as well as Facility Intervention Dogs for schools and courtrooms. SDA has developed a 43-acre state-of-the-art training complex in Hope Hull, AL (Guice Slawson Training Complex); built an additional office and kennel facility in North Alabama; created a prison-based dog training initiative, as well as implemented unparalleled School Dog and Courtroom Dog programs.
To learn more about Service Dogs Alabama or to support our mission, please visit www.ServiceDogsAlabama.org.
For additional information, please contact Richard Rice at 334-676-3733 or firstname.lastname@example.org.