Animal Assisted Therapy
Therapy dogs are a proven effective tool for use in counseling work in the school setting. Tillotson proudly boasts an animal assisted therapy program with Poppy. Poppy is hands down the favorite member of the Student Support Team. Ms. Ryan is Poppy’s owner/handler and is a counselor on the Student Support Team as well. Poppy went through various trainings and certifications to learn how to best support our students. Poppy welcomes students to counseling spaces and helps to break down walls, making it easier to talk about problems.
You will often see Poppy stopping for pets and attention and can even see her give students a kiss or two. Poppy loves to spend her time with students and somehow knows exactly what they need. Poppy is a rescue dog, but we like to think that she is rescuing us here at the Tillotson School. Just like many of our students that have to overcome challenges in their life, Poppy also faces some challenges. Poppy was diagnosed with epilepsy, but she does not let that stop her from doing her job. This is just another reason why students can relate to Poppy, as they have a shared experience.
Some of the benefits of having Poppy at the school are reduced anxiety and stress levels, improved mood, de-escalation and support to implement learned strategies. While Poppy is here to provide support, we are also mindful of each individual student and their needs. Allergy issues are always taken into consideration and Poppy will never enter a classroom unless invited. Poppy looks forward to her work days and has become an integral Tillotson family member.