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Therapy dog standing in front of reading poster

CRS Therapy Dog Program

Canyon Ridge School’s therapy dog program is growing. During the 2022-2023, we will have two highly trained therapy dogs on campus. Research has demonstrated that therapy dogs properly managed in the school setting can not only make a measurable difference in terms of gaining various skills such as reading enhancement and reducing test anxiety, but also in contributing critically to emotional and relational development of students. Schools are finding that the presence of a therapy dog can decrease anxiety and enable students to work through emotional challenges.  Therapy dogs are not service dogs who are trained to help one person. Additionally, therapy dogs are not emotional support animals, who typically do not have specialized training. A therapy dog is a dog who provides support, comfort, and opportunities for education in a variety of settings, including schools and has been certified through training.

Introductions - 

Onyx - Mrs. Stacey Peterman, certified handler

 Therapy Dog with it's trainer

Onyx is certified as a therapy dog with a complex rating. This is the highest rating a therapy dog can receive. Mrs. Stacey Peterman is his certified handler and has been working with Onyx at CRS since the 2020-2021school year.  He also has passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen Certification test and the AKC Community Canine Certification test.  Onyx has also earned the AKC Therapy Dog Advanced and the AKC Therapy Dog Excellent Titles.  Onyx works continuously to maintain a high level of training.  As his certified handler, Mrs. Peterman also continues her own education and work as a mentor trainer.

Wrigley - Mrs. Jill Hoppe, certified handler

Therapy Dog with it's handlerWrigley is certified as a therapy dog with a predictable rating. Mrs. Jill Hoppe is his certified handler. The pair earned the American Kennel Club (AKC) Therapy Dog Handler Team certification on May 29, 2022. Wrigley has gone through extensive training for the past two years through Legend Acres Dog Training and has earned the following certifications: AKC Canine Good Citizen, AKC Community Canine, and AKC Urban Community Good Citizen. 

Both therapy dogs are certified through Pet Partners after undergoing an extensive testing session. Onyx and Wrigley will be seen throughout the school with their handler. Students will be taught proper handling techniques for Onyx and Wrigley to avoid any incidents, including proper hygienic practices after handling/interacting with them.  These handling techniques may be different from how students interact with their own pet dogs but they must be followed. We are thrilled that students will have the opportunity to benefit from therapy dogs on campus. 

Therapy Dog wearing Patriotic Colors
Therapy Dog wearing red vest