Rock Run Elementary
Therapy Dog Proposal
Jill Fett, &
Purpose for the Dog
1. Increase empathy and compassion among students by using the dog to
teach guidance lessons and provide support in small group settings.
2. Decrease retaliatory violence and improve students’ self esteem. By using
the dog as a reward for positive behavior in place of the aggressive violent
behavior, we hope to lessen the need for administrative involvement.
Purpose for the Dog ~ continued
3. Help students stay connected with their peers in social situations in small and
large group settings by giving students a common bond.
4. Reduce anxiety levels and help children decompress after traumatic
circumstances or events such as divorce, death in the family, etc.
5. Improve reading skills and increase confidence and literary interest by
allowing students to read without judgment or correction from peers and
Purpose for the Dog ~ Video Support
Therapy Dogs for Calming the Classroom
Therapy Dogs for Reading
Why Do We Need a Dog at Rock Run?
There are several students at Rock Run right now that have aggressive
tendencies, high anxiety, and emotional challenges that affect their learning and
the learning of others in the classroom.
A therapy dog gives us another tool to help kids in crisis.
Rules/Boundaries for Use with Kids
❖ The dog will always be accompanied by a handler/teacher
❖ The dog will have a set area as a home base to rest and recharge
❖ The handlers will guide kids in their interactions with the dog
❖ The dog will always be clean and well-kept
❖ The dog will have a designated parking area outside
❖ The dog will be available to ALL staff and students!! :)
Guidelines for use with Kids
❖ Students will be introduced to the dog through classroom guidance lessons
❖ Students will be taught rules about how to approach and treat the dog
❖ Students will be given a choice and not forced to touch the dog until
❖ Lessons will be developed for use in general education as well as during
guidance lessons on bullying, tolerance, hygiene and the 7 Habits
❖ The dog will not be used when its safety is compromised.
❖ ALL students and staff will benefit from time with the dog as a reward for
positive behavior, academic achievement, or displaying leadership qualities
❖ The dog would be trained by the prisoners at the
Newton Correctional Facility.
❖ The Warden will oversee the training of the dog to
Leader Dog Standards (which are higher than any
therapy dog standards that we have researched)
❖ Carol Kirkbride (Leader Dog Trainer for the State of
Iowa) will select the dog that will be used in our
❖ Prisoners will train all the handlers for proper
commands and training at the prison when the dog is
How will the dog be chosen?
Carol Kirkbride, the Leader Dog Program Coordinator for the state of Iowa, will
help us select the dog. Carol has been in our school with her leader dogs for the
past 14 years. Carol has provided a huge amount of knowledge to us during our
research into this venture. She knows several of our staff as well as students,
and we feel will be the most able to give advice on the best fit dog for our school.
Our therapy dog program will be funded through Mrs.
Jones’s 4th grade store, as well as, the annual Kennel Club
The warden and the prisoners from the Newton
Correctional Facility have donated the $4,000 back to Rock
Run to help fund the startup of this program.
Community members, as well as school staff, have
committed to donations and support toward our program.
Program funding will be utilized for general care of the dog,
including food, grooming, and medical costs.
The Newton Correctional Facility will not only train the dogs, but they will also
train handlers on learning commands for the dogs. Staff members wanting to be
Susan Jones - Owner/Handler Mike Swartzendruber - Handler
Ginger Williams - Therapy Handler Jill Fett - Reading Handler
❖ Trish Lee, Jos Lubbers, Tammy Merklin, Sheli Duit are all willing to help with
dog responsibilities throughout the day.
❖ Caring for the dog may be a Leadership Role for student(s).
Day in the Life of the Service Therapy Dog
The dog will be based in Mrs. Jones’s 4th grade classroom
for the majority of the day.
Times will be scheduled with Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Duit, and
Reward times can be scheduled for time spent with
Pull out for an as needed basis. (Mr. Swartzendruber)
Babysitting services provided by Mrs. Lubbers and Mrs. Lee .
4th Grade Puppy Program
❖ Training Costs
❖ Board Policy