The Philadelphia Citizen recently named our dogs Citizens of the Week. They focused on one of our students, Danny, and how Gus and Zeke helped him overcome his fear of dogs. In addition to gathering the courage to face the Bernese mountain dog next door, Danny has made two new friends who help him increase his confidence.
The article also profiles Nellie’s Schoolhouse and our mission to help children, specifically those on the autism spectrum, to reduce anxiety and depression. Our program helps these children to up their self confidence while lowering their anxiety and depression.
Tom is quoted saying that, over the past 5 years, the use of therapy dogs to treat mental illnesses and disorders including PTSD has become more widely accepted.
Tom said, “There’s so many ways dogs are being used today. Therapy dogs, [researchers] are finding that they bring comfort, they bring a sense of independence, it does make kids more confident and helps them with their socialization and communication.”
Danny’s mom, Lisa, said that the dogs’ visits have helped Danny to come out of his shell. When the visits first started, he would hide in bed under the covers. Now, he walks the dogs, pets them, and looks forward to their visits.
Lisa said, “For children who have anxiety, and children on the spectrum, they are always trying really hard to prove themselves to people and they have a little harder time trying to make friends because they can get marginalized for having differences. I can’t think of anything more non judgmental than a dog. Really, it’s not a joke they are ‘man’s best friend’ because they’re a non judgmental peer, they just happen to have a tail.”
We are honored that The Philadelphia Citizen has profiled us and chosen our dogs as Citizens of the Week. Read the full article here.