Written by Joanna Posey, Teacher
Did you know we have an Animal Therapy class at ScenicView Academy? It is truly changing lives! Recently, the students learned how animals express their emotions, especially fear, and how we can teach our animals how to reduce that fear. Therapy teams Jill and Lucy (Standard Poodle) along with Maureen and Gus (Golden Retriever) with Debbie and Thomas (Sheltie) interacted as Thomas showed how fearful he was around people and other animals that could be seen in his body language. Social interventions were used to reduce Thomas' fear. People have the same emotions, including fear. Through similar interventions, students can reduce their fear, as well.
Therapy Animals of Utah
The therapy animals who come to ScenicView are nationally registered Therapy Animals through the Pet Partners registry and these animal/handler teams come as volunteers from Therapy Animals of Utah. Attached is the logo for Therapy animals of Utah. This is the most professional organization and we are partnering with them to develop a quality program.
About the Dogs
The Standard Poodle (Lucy), the Golden Retriever (Gus), and Smokey (the Cockapoo) are nationally registered therapy animals come to visit our students. These fully trained animals must pass 22 different skills in an evaluation every 2 years. Today, Lucy and Gus will join our social responsiveness class when we discuss body language and facial expressions of animals and body language and facial expression of humans. The purpose of the class is for the students to become more socially aware of how our body language influences our communication with others. The presence of these fully trained therapy animals teach the students many concepts they would not otherwise understand.
A Visit From South Korea
Recently, Mrs. Choi, from South Korea, came to Utah to visit Mellow Monday. Mellow Mondays are scheduled so our students can randomly come and lower their anxieties by being with a therapy animal. Mrs. Choi is a veterinarian in her community and she wants to start a therapy animal program like we have at ScenicView. She enjoyed her visit here. Pictured are Mrs. Choi, Debbie Carr and Mr. Parker (a registered therapy animal). We love to invite our international friends to see what we do to support our students.
Animals Make Us Human
I recently attended a conference on animal-human interaction at the University of Denver. I was able to discuss the activities and classes that we are developing in teaching our students emotional regulation, social responsiveness, and personal responsibility in partnership with Therapy Animals of Utah. Many conference attendees were impressed with our interventions. Attached is a picture of me with Temple Grandin as she signed her book, "Animals Make Us Human." The book is in our SVA Library.
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