A four-legged friend is making the school day a little easier for middle school students in Monrovia.
Therapy dogs visit Clifton Middle School on Tuesdays and Thursdays as part of the new canine Therapy program partnership with the Pasadena Humane Society.
Each dog has a certificate from Therapy Dogs International.
“The special training he has is basically to tolerate lots of different people petting him and lots of loud noises,” said Brenda, a trainer at the Pasadena Humane Society.
Studies have shown that therapy dogs help students reduce stress, lower blood pressure and produce happy hormones called endorphins.
The dogs help all kids, especially those with autism and special needs. They are not service dogs, or canines that help people with specific medical needs, but they do make the students feel good.
Science teacher Gina Ayala has witnessed the animal's chemistry with her students.
“When the dog came in, whatever kind of anger and stress that [my student] was holding onto, it just dissipated the moment he put his hand on the dog to pet an interact with the dog. He let go of his anxiety at the moment and pet the dog and a smile came over his face,” said Ayala.