NewsHillsborough County


Therapy dogs visit Tampa elementary school to bring comfort to children in need

Posted at 1:12 PM, Apr 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-11 13:13:49-04

TAMPA, Fla. — A new program is bringing therapy dogs into school and bringing comfort to kids who are struggling with emotional or behavioral issues.

Teachers and staff said therapy dogs are making a big difference for students at Lake Magdalene Elementary in Tampa.

The new Kids and Canines program is called HAPPY, standing for Hug A Puppy Program for Youth.

School psychologists said since the pandemic, stress and anxiety have increased among students.

"We all know, therapeutically, that dogs can make you happy," said Kelly Hodges with Kids and Canines.

The Happy Program allows schools to have an additional way to help children in need.

"The emotional impact of some of our children who have difficulty regulating their emotions, they find that bond with the dog and its beautiful to see because it just turns their whole day around," said Sarah Denton, Hillsborough school psychologist.


The principal at the school said she’s seen a big difference in the behavior of the kids who spend time with the dogs.

For more information on the program, visit Kids and Canines website.