Or, text the code “THERAPYDOG” to 44-321 to donate.

Together we can put JOY into the classroom.

Academic and cognitive tasks that seem easy to a neuro typical child can trigger a response to trauma for a child with a learning disability. Children with learning disabilities can experience high levels of stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety can manifest in different ways, at different times of the day and in different times of the school year. We are keenly aware of these issues at W2LA.

Through generous donations, our students will be able to engage in a project that will help lower stress and anxiety. We are looking to start a special project with our students this spring. Working with a specialized therapy dog trainer in Spokane who trains dogs for people across the US, our students will train their own dog for our Academy. This dog, when fully trained, will work daily at the Academy with our students. Our therapy dog will be trained to check heart rates and anxiety levels and respond when a student exhibits anxiety symptoms. A school therapy dog is very special with the temperament and patience for working 6-8 hours a day with eager, poking, prying and not always gentle hands.

The science behind the “magic” of a therapy dog is well known. Interacting with a dog lowers the level of cortisol (a stress hormone) in the brain and raises the levels of oxytocin and dopamine (the happy hormones). An integral part of our learning environment will be a therapy dog that listens to our students, reduces their anxiety, brightens bad days and provides comfort when needed.

Through this projects, our students will learn to train a dog in a rigorous program under a licensed trainer, follow through and meet expectations, and care for a dog that helps care for them. In addition, they will learn about dogs, anxiety, depression, body physiology, and more.

The benefits our students will receive from training certified therapy dog include:

  • Lifting spirits & lessoning depression
  • Lowering feelings of isolation & alienation
  • Encouraging communication
  • Providing comfort
  • Increasing socialization
  • Reducing anxiety
  • Helping with speech and emotional disorders

Our students are excited to have a dog that will trot into our classrooms from recess, listen to their concerns without judgement and survey the room with a wiggy tail. Without a doubt, our dog will be the most beloved student in the Academy. This dog will be unique in the therapy dog world as he will be trained to work with all students and not just one person.