Emily Hersh, Principal, Blythedale Childrens' Hospital, Valhalla, New York
" K9sPLUSKIDS program was brought to the Mt.Pleasant Blythedale School during our summer 2012 session. Our 6th and 7th graders were given the opportunity to connect with therapy dogs and their handlers to work on building confidence, self-esteem,self-advocacy, and communication skills. In addition, students were taught the basics of dog handling and making good decisions. One of our 6th graders shared that this was a great program that helped her to connect with dogs, become a better problem solver, and gave her a chance to reflect on how she would better handle situations in the future. Another student noted how this program helped to make him more aware of himself. Ultimately, K9sPLUSKIDS strengthened and empowered our students to work toward overcoming multiple physical and medical obstacles through the development of empathy, patience, and perseverance. Looking forward to working with K9sPLUSKIDS this summer!"
Dave Kates, Director, Eagle Hill School, Greenwich, Connecticut
Thanks so much for the wonderful K9sPLUSKIDS program that you ran at Eagle Hill this past Spring. Our 8 students looked forward to each of the 5 sessions and they always came away happy and with lots of smiles. Not only did they love being with and working with the dogs each week, but they responded well to the weekly topics and were willing to engage in the communication aspects of the program. The only issue I had to deal with was the jealousy that other students had for the kids in the program. Kids and parents were asking, "How can I get in that dog program?"
Please pass along thanks to all of the handlers and of course to all of the dogs. We look forward to a continued relationship with the K9sPLUSKIDS program."
Linda Carlson and Therapy Dog (participating handler)
"MayLa and I were so happy and lucky to be included in your program this summer at Blythedale. You run a wonderful class for the children. I was honored to be a part of it. Please include us in future outings - it is a very rewarding experience. MayLa misses everyone."
Kathy & Skylar ( participating handler and therapy dog)
"Just wanted to tell you what a great job you do with this program. The kids are lucky to have you take on the responsibility of running such a great program."
Dana & Otis (participating handler and therapy dog)
"Otis and I truly enjoy the K9sPLUSKIDS program. It has been fantastic to watch each child become empowered and express themselves in their own unique way. Otis really loves meeting all of the children and working with his canine peers. Thank you, Sherry, for creating this wonderful opportunity."
Marian Steinberg and Sparky (participating handler and therapy dog)
Bravo is the best way to sum up my praise for the job you do with the K9sPLUSKIDS program! You are so tuned into the needs and personalities of each of the students. The program is very well thought through and presented, and it is so clear that the children are welcoming and responsive. We are privileged to be a part of the program.
Kami (participating student)
Thank you for bringing K9sPLUSKIDS to us. It has helped us.
We have learned that bullying is not cool, and how to be a good friend. It makes my day seem bright and I feel proud to be a part of something that can makes me a better person. We like socializing with the dogs, rubbing and petting them, praising them with "good boy" or "good girl" when they do something well. I hope we can all learn to treat dogs well because they may not be people, but they do have feelings, and personalities. I loved the handlers, they were such nice people and I am glad they could come with their dogs and share their time with us. The dogs were also great! I hope we can do this again next year!!!!!!!
Brian (participating student)
Thank you for bringing K9sPLUSKIDS to our school. It has helped us to gain confidence. It makes me enjoy coming to school. We liked being able to give the dogs commands, petting them and getting to know them. It made us feel happy, proud, in charge, and comfortable around dogs. The dogs are friendly, and well behaved. The handlers are nice, kind, friendly, and generous with their time. They are people to look up to. I hope they can come back next year.
Rachel (participating student)
K9sPLUSKIDS has helped us feel happy, excited and proud. We liked having this time with the dogs and we especially wanted to come to school that day. I liked meeting a different dog and handler each week. I enjoy my time with the dogs. The dogs are friendly and well-behaved. The handlers are nice people and are kind to volunteer their time with us. I liked doing this program because it made me more confident. We hope we can do this again next year.
RJ (participating student)
K9sPLUSKIDS has helped us with our confidence and social skills. The dogs are beautiful and well-behaved. I loved petting them. It made me and the dogs very happy. I loved commanding the dogs and having them follow my directions. I like giving and getting attention from the dogs. I look up to the handlers. The dogs made me happy to come to school. At first I was afraid of the dogs, but I found they were very friendly. Their kisses and wagging tails made me feel happy. It was such a joy to be a part of this program. See you next year.
Anthony J. (participating student)
" Dear Dog Therapists: Thank you for bringing your dogs for the past two summers. Your dogs are great. I really enjoyed having you come."
Gloria Nussbaum and Millie (handler and therapy dog)
" It was great to see the transformation in the kids. I worked with one of our more challenging students for the last session. He appeared to be so comfortable with the dogs. He was lying down on Millie, petting her and giving her kisses. He was also eager to participate in the discussion and the first to volunteer to "share" a dog that day. Earlier in the program I worked with a student who was unwilling to speak up in class. By the last week of the program he had become comfortable with the entire format which included his participation in the discussion of the day. I watched many of the other students grow in confidence as the weeks went on. Great to see! Thank you for organizing and running such a great program. Unlike other programs where you just show up to "visit", K9sPLUSKIDS requires a great facilitator to make it work. You do a terrific job!"
Linda Shirley, 4th grade teacher, New Lebanon Elementary School, Greenwich, Ct.
"Many thanks for a wonderful visit. The students were very excited and loved working with your dogs. You engaged the students and were able to get some very thoughtful responses from them. I was able to use our list of character traits from the topic of "Friendship" in a lesson today! I look forward to working together."
Elissa Engelhardt, handler.
"Thank you so much for having me and little Oscar be a part of your K9sPLUSKIDS therapy dog team for the past few weeks. I know the kids loved it and got a lot out of it as did I."
Michelle Vitaglione, Special Projects Manager and NEASC Coordinator
The Pinnacle School, Stamford, Ct.
"Thank you for delivering such a wonderful program to our school. You have an amazing way of reaching our students and it was obvious how invested you, all of the handlers and the dogs were in the program. You exuded kindness and genuine care through every lesson and brought out thoughtful reflections from our students. Our students and staff loved the program and our staff has noted on numerous occasions what a valuable experience it was for the students. Looking forward to future sessions.”
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