Therapy Dogs Bring New Perspective On Bullying

By: Matt Howerton Email
By: Matt Howerton Email

WACO (February 5, 2014) Their greatest trick isn’t sit, stay, or roll over. Rather, therapy dogs being utilized in the anti-bullying program “Paws against Bullying” are serving a greater purpose in local schools.

Paws against Bullying started 3 years ago in Waco, and incorporates man’s best friend to help teach students in the area about respect.

During the program, the therapy dogs are used to disfigure bullying intentions. Paws against Bullying volunteer Jean Ann Jones explains.

“We’ll bring a smaller dog and a big dog and put them side by side in front of the kids, then we’ll ask ‘one of these two dogs is a bully, which one is it?” she said.

“Almost every time the kids will point to the larger dog, just because he’s bigger. But then we spin it and say, ‘but what if the smaller dog goes to the bigger dog and says something mean? Who is the bully then?’ At that point all their jaws drop.”

Jones works side by side with Sandy Wittliff and Sharon Raabe who helped create Paws against Bullying.

“This little light goes on in their head, and you can see them thinking ‘oh you really can't do that,’" Raabe said.

"A lot of the programs out there have students signing certificates saying ‘I don't want to be a bully,’ well that doesn't mean students are being taught what it's all about," Wittliff said.

The therapy dogs are also used to show how a victim of bullying may feel when he or she is targeted.

“We try to put bullying into a new perspective for the kids by saying, ‘you wouldn’t harass or bully a dog would you? What justifies doing it to a human?’” Jones said.

"We can show those kids the relationship we have with our dogs, and how we respect them. We let them know that's what they can do for others by making everyone feel important."

To learn more about Paws against Bullying, visit their website here

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