By Mary Fornelli and Ava Curran
On April 20, the Fox Valley Therapy Dog Club visited Batavia High School with two of their dogs, Cash and Chance. The one-hour visit, from 10:30-11:30, took place in the backroom of the LRC. The ten-minute-long visits consisted of six groups of five students.
According to helpguide.org, petting a dog can lower your blood pressure and help you feel calmer and less stressed.
“I would definitely say the dogs bring a smile to all who visit them, even for the 10-minute time slot,” said Aimee Miller, the librarian at Batavia High School and organizer of the visits. “It is a nice break for students to just be able to pet the dogs for a short time.”
These visits provide students with a calming break.
“This experience was helpful and it was nice to take a break from school and do something different,” said Annabelle Severson.
The Fox Valley Therapy dog club is a volunteer program that has been visiting schools, libraries, and hospitals since 2005. Miller had known the visits were taking place in other libraries around the Fox Valley area and wanted to bring it to Batavia. There were dogs already visiting special needs classrooms in Batavia, but Miller wanted to expand and bring the opportunity to the whole school.
The dogs visit Batavia High School once a month, so if you haven’t got a chance to stop by make sure to check your email. The signup link to visit the dogs is sent to Batavia students school emails.
“I will definitely continue the dog visits as it is one of our most popular programs. We try to get as many students to visit as possible, but it is so popular that the slots fill up very quickly.” Miller said.
When we asked Cassandra Castro, an English teacher at Batavia about her experience with the dog visit in her class she had said the dogs reduced stress levels for the students, the visit was therapeutic, it gave students an opportunity to take a mental break, and the students looked happy.
“I believe,” Severson said, “they should continue this for many more years for every student that wants the opportunity to take a break physically but also mentally.”