LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Therapy dogs are becoming more popular in hospitals and nursing homes, and now, even schools.
For the past year, Robinson High School has a therapy dog that’s making a big impact.
Five-year-old Leo is a Welsh Corgi who loves belly rubs and playing outside, but this pup serves a bigger purpose.
“He helps students having a tough day, especially during testing time when stress level is high,” says Madison Scott, a Behavioral Specialist at Robinson High School.
Scott says students stop by throughout the day to spend time with the beloved dog.
“He kisses them, he snuggles with them, and it takes your mind off of that stress or whatever is bothering you,” she adds.
When he walks the halls of the school, students light up.
“They all run after him,” says Alicia Soto. “They love him. They want to pet him. He’s adorable.”
Soto says just a few minutes with him makes a difference.
“When I see him, he calms me down,” she continues.
Leo is one of many ways Madison tries to help students de-stress.
“Every teenager reacts to things differently, which is why I have punching bags, stress balls, I’ve got a dog,” Scott says.
Thinking out of the box, she’s discovering what truly makes a difference and can turn a teen’s day around.
“The opportunity to work for Youth Home and my supervisors with Arkansas Behavioral Services of Arkansas, they let me make the program what I need to,” Scott explains.
Bringing a therapy dog to Robinson High School has brought students joy, and Leo is never lacking attention.
“He just gets loving all day long,” Scott says.