We operate our programs at various middle and high school within the Hillsborough County School System. Our services are provided to children selected for the program by their teachers, counselors and therapists who have been identified as having special needs.
The students provide training, care and grooming to our program dogs. They build work skills by being responsible for the care of the dogs – brushing, bathing, cleaning ears and teeth.
They are also responsible for continuing the dog’s training. As trainers they will train the dogs to perform more than 30 cues.
The bond formed between a student and “their” dog may be the first experience these children have with trust and unconditional love.
“The dogs make me happy and calm. They have helped me to be patient. I learned how to be patient by training them. I really like being here.” – Sarah, Dorothy Thomas Student Trainer.
As a result of our programs we have seen children grow academically, socially and emotionally. Their school attendance, behavior and grades improve, Ask any one of our students and they will say, “ I love the dogs! And I am a better person because of them”.
“This program is such a wonderful tool in helping these kids! To see the happiness on their faces when they teach a dog makes everything worth it. It gives the kids a sense of pride knowing that helped make a difference.” – Ashley Price, teacher, Dorothy Thomas Center