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Grant for Pets for Progress Program

Thursday, 07 May 2015 12:50

CAP COM Cares Foundation awards Cohoes City Schools $2,900 for social service therapy dogs


Pets for Progress

April 27, 2015—CAP COM Federal Credit Union's philanthropic entity, the CAP COM Cares Foundation, has awarded the Cohoes City School District $2,900 for the Pets for Progress: Improving Student Learning with Social-Service Dogs in Schools program.

The funding will provide professional training and certification so that two puppies will become social service therapy dogs serving students at Harmony Hill and Abram Lansing. The grant will fully cover the cost of Abram Lansing's puppy, and offset the cost of training for both puppies as well as supplies, such as water dishes, crates, harnesses and beds for the dogs at the schools.

CAP COM Cares Foundation's Administrator, Amanda Goyer said, "Our Foundation is excited to support the Pets for Progress program with the hope that these pets can help enrich learning experiences, teach children responsibility and, most importantly, demonstrate the meaning of true friendship. We applaud the Cohoes City School District for taking on this initiative to help nurture and teach students in the classroom through this innovative program."

The service dogs are trained early to establish a school-wide safe environment where the puppy immediately begins to learn socialization, commands, rules, parameters and proper behavior at the same time students and staff learn appropriate commands, interactions, behavior and care for the dog.

"We are thrilled to be starting this program in Cohoes," said Superintendent Jennifer Spring, Ed.D. "The benefits of therapy dogs is backed by research, and these puppies will have a tremendous positive impact on our students."

Therapy dogs have been used in classrooms across the country to support regulation of emotions and assist in stress management.
The dogs also strengthen the commitment to the overall school community by bringing staff and students to work collaboratively
to socialize and train the dog to become a member of the school community.

One puppy at Harmony Hill has already begun her training. Five month-old golden retriever Rozie recently graduated from puppy kindergarten and already makes regular visits to school each week. Harmony Hill Principal Mark Perry owns Rozie and serves as her primary handler.

"Continuing the training here in Cohoes will be extremely beneficial," said Perry. "It will allow some of my staff to train along with me and become handlers, so Rozie can spend time in their classrooms or in small group settings with specific students." All handlers must spend time training with the puppies and must remain with them at all times. The dog's primary handler, its actual owner, is responsible for his or her veterinary expenses, monthly medication, food and home care.

Social-service therapy dogs in schools help create welcoming and supportive environment for students and staff. The presence of a dog during learning is an added incentive for students to attend school, and the district anticipates improved attendance rates in the schools, significant academic gains and an increase in the positive school climate.

About CAP COM Cares Foundation:
The CAP COM Cares Foundation's mission is to nurture the community by supporting health and wellness programs; financial literacy and education initiatives; and causes that assist children and underprivileged families. Since inception in 2003, the Foundation has donated more than $2.2 million and thousands of volunteer hours to the Capital Region and beyond.

CAP COM Federal Credit Union Public Relations Contact:
Amanda Goyer (518) 458-2195 ext. 3553 or