Students in Al Nucci’s eighth grade health class at Great Hollow Middle School learned about therapy dogs from a special visitor on Monday.
Ken, a nine-year-old Goldendoodle, and his partner Terry Gallogly visited the students in the school’s library.
The students learned the difference between therapy dogs and service dogs while having the opportunity to interact with Ken, who is affiliated with Therapy Dogs of Long Island.
Service dogs have a specific handler and role and typically only interact with that one person — for instance, assisting someone who is visually impaired.
Therapy dogs, by comparison, interact with all of those around them in a room. They provide tangible health benefits for those with whom they interact, the students learned, including lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, and increasing serotonin levels — the hormone that affects people’s moods.
Ken’s business card — yes, he has a business card — indicates that his favorite activity is playing ball. So the students also had a chance to toss a ball and watch Ken retrieve it for them during the fourth-period visit on Monday.