Dog therapy, education program being considered

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Dog education and emotional support therapy are being considered for schools in Jasper.

Dr. Jeremiah Alexander of Farmstead Veterinary Medical Center was a guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Jasper Tuesday, and he is hopeful to soon implement educational resources on dog safety in schools. 

Alexander passed around coloring books, card games, and other informational resources at the Rotary meeting on Tuesday to illustrate the educational options available on using safe practices around all animals. 

He is currently speaking to officials with Jasper City Schools to determine which age groups need to be targeted most and how best to implement such education.

"There's a lot of resources out there, and the great thing about this is it's going to take a little time but not cost a heck of a lot of money," he said.

Alexander has also spoken to Jasper City Schools Superintendent Dr. Ann Jackson, who has expressed an interest in having emotional support dogs in city schools. He said it will be important to ensure the dogs are certified and can handle the energy and excitement of children.

Research has shown that dog therapy can be beneficial to all students, particularly those with disabilities and anxiety.

Since nothing has been incorporated in city schools at this time, Alexander said he is open to suggestions on how to make such ideas a reality.

He hopes to also integrate the same concepts in county schools.

"I think it can be a great program and very beneficial," Alexander said.