Therapy dog making a difference in Allegheny County school district



Students in the North Hills School District reported a 75% boost in their overall mood after coming in contact with a furry friend named Layla.The 4-year-old mini golden doodle is more than just a teacher’s pet. She’s a fully-trained therapy dog. Layla’s owner, Lindsay McKamish, is a special education autism support teacher in the district.“A lot of kids internalize stress, and petting can be a natural way to bring it down,” McKamish said. Layla’s so popular, if you open up the middle school yearbook, you’ll find her there.“I think the day is stressful to begin with,” said North Hills Superintendent Patrick Mannarino. “The academic challenges are high. The social and emotional challenges are high, particularly in a middle school…the dog helps to relieve those stresses and helps to make it a better day.”Layla’s breed is hypoallergenic, and she doesn’t shed. It’s an added bonus for the students who seem to flock to her.Mannarino says other districts visited the middle school to learn more about the therapy dog program in the hopes of implementing the program at their school too.Take a look at the video above to see Layla work her magic.

Students in the North Hills School District reported a 75% boost in their overall mood after coming in contact with a furry friend named Layla.

The 4-year-old mini golden doodle is more than just a teacher’s pet. She’s a fully-trained therapy dog.

Layla’s owner, Lindsay McKamish, is a special education autism support teacher in the district.

“A lot of kids internalize stress, and petting can be a natural way to bring it down,” McKamish said.

Layla’s so popular, if you open up the middle school yearbook, you’ll find her there.

“I think the day is stressful to begin with,” said North Hills Superintendent Patrick Mannarino. “The academic challenges are high. The social and emotional challenges are high, particularly in a middle school…the dog helps to relieve those stresses and helps to make it a better day.”

Layla’s breed is hypoallergenic, and she doesn’t shed. It’s an added bonus for the students who seem to flock to her.

Mannarino says other districts visited the middle school to learn more about the therapy dog program in the hopes of implementing the program at their school too.

Take a look at the video above to see Layla work her magic.



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