Harry Hoag students had a few very special guests at their recent Morning Program. Therapy dog Cooper and Detective PJ and Lieutenant Ryan from the Schenectady Police Department presented to students in the gym and also visited some of their classrooms.
Cooper is a two-year-old labradoodle who was donated to the Schenectady Police Department. He began training as a puppy to become a therapy dog. Cooper provides people with affection, comfort and support. On the job, he helps police officers, community members and children cope with stress, anxiety and other big emotions.
Cooper is nonjudgmental and assists people in recognizing their own fears and issues. He creates a more relaxed environment where both children and adults feel more comfortable sharing their feelings.
A therapy dog has positive effects on a person’s mental and physical health by:
- Lowering heart rate
- Reducing anxiety
- Increasing self-esteem
- Helping regulate emotions and behavior
- Helping form healthy relationships
- Decreasing distractibility
- Improving appropriate tone of voice
- Lowing behavioral, emotional and verbal distress
After working with Detective PJ during the day, Cooper is part of his family at home.