PN to implement social emotional learning dog for students’ mental health

Astrid Code, News Editor

Anxiety and depression are a major problem for many high school students. Soon, Portage Northern hopes to employ a Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) dog to help. “The dog will be at PNHS every day school is in session,” explains social studies teacher Ryan Ledlow, who got the SEL dog program approved and is pushing for fundraising efforts. “The dog will typically be “working” 4-5 hours with rest periods and breaks as necessary. Teachers will use Google forms to schedule the dog in their classroom, and the dog will be located in the counseling office and DLR other at times.” Charlotte’s Litter and PAWS for People describe SEL dog’s abilities to lower people’s blood pressure, reduce stress levels, increase levels of dopamine and serotonin, decrease anxiety, and ease social isolation. However, before the SEL dog starts working at Northern, donations are needed to purchase and certify the trained dog. Currently, the program has raised about $1,500 out of their goal of $8,000. The program is expected to start at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. To donate, go to the main office or https://portage.revtrak.net/high-schools/portage-northern-high-school/#/v/sel-dog-donation