Do you have a wonderful dog you wish you could spend more time with and share with others? Many teachers at SLV have brought their dogs to school. Most students enjoyed having the dogs around. However, recently pets were banned from coming to work with their owners. Not only did the banning of dogs create a sense of loss for the teachers, but also for the students.
Many of the students enjoyed interacting with the animals, as Mr. Grant puts it, “I really enjoyed having him in class and students really enjoyed having him around even more than I did.” Mr. Grant, teacher of Aquaculture and Green tech, has a chocolate lab named Josey Wales. Five years ago, when he first got Josey Wales as a puppy, he brought the dog to school almost every day for the first year. Not only was this beneficial to the active puppy during it’s first year, but also to the students, “..by not allowing dogs we are missing a unique opportunity to connect with students who really enjoy having a dog around.”
With all the positives of bringing a dog to school, what could have gotten them banned? The reasoning behind this may be the distraction the dogs were causing to the students, or they may have been getting too aggressive for students, “One teacher’s dog was notorious for growling and snarling and even snapping at students. They say the character of a dog emulates his master.” says X, who teaches science.
Perhaps the dog problem at our school can be solved by having behavior requirements for the dogs that attend school. This could be an ideal compromise that could enhance the learning benefits of having a pet at school as well as preventing aggression from the animals. Animals at school can encourage enthusiasm in the students while teaching responsibility and care for others. Sure, some dogs are not meant to be around a lot of people but dogs such as X’s dog, Zoey, a licensed therapy dog, are meant to be around humans and not to be left home alone.
“..by not allowing dogs we are missing a unique opportunity to connect with students who really enjoy having a dog around.”
Obviously, in the event that a student was allergic or uncomfortable with the animals in the class, it would be inappropriate for the dog to return. But unless these concerns have been made known, the dog should be allowed in the class as the benefits greatly outweigh the negatives. “He is a really friendly dog and he seemed to make students feel good when they saw that I brought him. I also remember how Josey would lay down next to students sometimes and that always made that person feel good.” Mr. Grant said, illustrating the happiness dogs can bring to humans.
They are called man’s best friend for a reason; dogs are always there as a silent support, which is just what students need. “School can be stressful at times and honestly it makes you feel better when there is a friend like Josey Wales around.” Mr. Grant says. It is understandable that some dogs were banned for being too aggressive but it is unfortunate that even the friendly ones were also banned. It is a misfortune for both students and teachers that we will now have to wait until after school to spend time with those special pets.