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Arizona schools use therapy dogs to assist mental health

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Posted at 12:14 PM, Dec 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-23 14:14:18-05

MESA, Ariz. (AP) - An Arizona school district says it is using four-legged therapy counselors as part of a pilot program to help students deal with issues related to mental health.

The Arizona Republic reports the PAWsitive Peers therapy dog program has been implemented in five schools in Mesa.

Officials say the dogs are trained using a curriculum developed at Yale University to create a bond between humans and the animals.

At Mountain View, students visit with a dog named Sawyer while experiencing panic attacks or thoughts of suicide. Sawyer is also brought in when teachers discuss difficult topics such as the Holocaust.