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5 Fast Facts: Therapy Dogs Return to SMCS

With mid-year assessments right around the corner, St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) is getting ready to welcome back another ‘paws-itive’ programme to help students cope with stress in ‘dif-fur-ent’ ways. 

On Wednesday, November 3 and Tuesday, November 16, therapy dog teams from Corporate Canine Therapy will once again visit students and staff to provide some much-appreciated support.

SMCS students with Mila the therapy dogs in December 2019.
SMCS students with Mila the Samoyed during a previous therapy dog visit in December 2019.

“This month will be hectic with numerous upcoming events including a shortened block, mid-year assessments, announcements, two weeks of anti-bullying events, and other special events,” says Antoinette Morgan, Student Wellness Officer. “We anticipate periods of high tension, therefore the move to bring in canine therapists to the SMCS community is pre-emptive to provide relief and support, help our school community cope, and lessen the burden during these stressful days.”

Four teams from Corporate Canine Therapy first came to SMCS in December 2019 to help ease stress and increase positive energy among students in the middle of mid-year assessments.

Read our five fast facts about this year’s visit:

  1. Strict COVID-19 health and safety protocols will be in place during both visits including: wearing masks, physical distancing, and hand sanitizing before and after touching the dogs. In addition, all handlers participating in this event have been fully vaccinated.
  2. Mila, the Samoyed and Bobo, the Teddy Bear Pomeranian will both be back on November 2 along with Floki, the Irish Wolfhound.
  3. In previous years, SMCS also welcomed a golden retriever, corgi, collie, Chinese crested, and a wolfdog.
  4. Corporate Canine Therapy is an insured Toronto-based company that provides structured visits in a controlled environment. Dogs and handlers are highly screened. The therapy dogs are selected based on their temperaments and undergo training with their handlers.
  5. Therapy dogs are regularly used to provide emotional support through human and canine connection to reduce stress and anxiety levels and boost happiness. The petting of dogs also helps to elevate mood by the release of serotonin, oxytocin, and prolactin in the brain.
SMCS students with Bobo the therapy dog in December 2019.
SMCS students hold Bobo the Teddy Bear Pomeranian who helped ease stress during mid-year assessments in 2019.

Mid-year assessments for Block 1 begin on November 17 and for Block 2 on December 14. The Student Wellness Office, Learning Enrichment Centre, and the Odette Library Learning Commons are just a few places at SMCS where students can access additional support.

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