When you invite a dog into Hough, or any school for that matter, you have to identify why they are there…their purpose. Why would you invite a dog into a school setting, how could it be a benefit and what do you do with the dog in that type of setting day-in and day-out?
Luna's purpose is to provide comfort and to teach tolerance and empathy. Every day we have kids come through our doors who are nervous and new, deal with trauma, or had a rough day/morning. Being greeted by a friendly adult is great but being greeted by a loving animal is much more effective. Everyone is bound to have a bad day here and there and kids are no different. Bringing peace and comfort to kids on a tough day is a great way to get them learning again. Often times adults discredit kids and their bad days. A child might not have complex adult problems, but to a child, their problems are just as big and they affect their day just as much as others. We as humans don't get to determine how someone else should feel or what is justifiably upsetting and what isn't. The key is to teach coping skills…enter LUNA! Research has shown that empathy, compassion, resiliency and trust are taught through being with a loving animal. Luna will be joining me when I teach social lessons to all grade levels about growth mindset, perseverance and, most importantly empathy and compassion for others. Bringing comfort to kids will be her main prerogative.
Being that Luna is just now only 7 months old she still has a lot of training to do. Her foundational skills are excellent. She knows all the main commands, is wonderful on a leash and responds very well to me as her training and caretaker. Luna does however still have her puppy mannerisms such as getting too wound up, chewing on things she shouldn't and stealing stuffed toys from my children. :) She's a silly, lovable puppy and as she gets older and takes her "job" of Hough Elementary Therapy Dog seriously I can only imagine her impact.
The last week or so I was able to see a glimpse of Luna's impact at Hough and I haven't been this excited in a long time! She was able to do a meet and greet with some of the Hough staff last week and she did great! She was friendly, calm and really well behaved. It was awesome to see her excitement to meet new people and how well socialized she is with unfamiliar people. The staff who were able to come and meet her were all thrilled to give her some love. She adores attention more than just about anything else, so to say she was in heaven would be an understatement. Today, we were able to go to Hough's Kindergarten Jump Start program at release time. We stayed to the side and let kids come pet her and say hi on their way out. It was busy, but nothing too chaotic. Luna, again, did AMAZING! She was very gentle with the kids and loved saying hello to everyone. She was calm and happy, it was a great insight into what she will be doing later in her career.
As we move through this process I hope you will continue to follow her journey. It's going to be an exciting time for Hough Hawks and Luna seems to already fit right in.
Until next time,