On November 3, 2021, five therapy dogs from Thera-Paws, along with their handlers, visited Penn-Trafford High School to help address the high stress levels of students and staff. Media Center Intern Mia Crystaloski, a junior, saw a need for some stress relief amidst the pandemic.
In researching local therapy dog organizations, she connected with The Westmoreland County Obedience Training Club’s ‘Thera-Paws’. Volunteers from this group support an active pet therapy program in the Westmoreland and Eastern Allegheny County areas. One of the handlers, Christine Simpson, presently has a senior at the high school and another handler, Linda Cerutti, had two children graduate from PTHS, so they were happy to give back to their home district.
Mia felt the day was a success stating, “Everyone who came down looked so happy and relieved to take a break from some of the stress of the day“. Over 70 students and staff came to the Media Center to spend some time with the dogs. Mia hopes to arrange additional visits from the therapy dogs.