Seneca High School Introduces Therapy Dog Program
Seneca High School’s innovative therapy dog program is bringing comfort and stress relief to Seneca’s students and staff members. Penny the therapy dog visits classes, attends counseling sessions and is available during lunch for the Seneca family to visit her.
Student Assistance Coordinator, Ms. Alexis Cuneo, introduced the therapy dog program during the 2018-19 school year utilizing the volunteers through Tri-State K-9. Ms. Cuneo had such enthusiastic and positive responses from students and staff, she decided to incorporate a full time therapy dog into this school year. Ms. Cuneo and her dog Penny were certified as a therapy handler team through Alliance of Therapy Dogs this past summer.
Ms. Cuneo explains, “The intention of the program is to provide a stress relief for students and staff and to have Penny frequently accessible to all in the building. She meets students with me during one on one counseling sessions and she attends group sessions too. Everyone at Seneca is welcomed and encouraged to come pet and spend time with her during lunch and learn.”
Seneca 12th grader Aubrey Gwaltney says, “I spend time with her during lunch and she’s like fluffy relief from the school day. Penny literally smiles at me when I pet her and it brightens my day.”
Seneca is developing a formal plan to utilize her throughout the building for classes. The smile on the faces of students and staff shows how much of a positive impact she has made in such a short time at Seneca.