As students and staff in my school district deal with the effects of COVID-19 and social distancing, those who have enjoyed seeing Rita around school in the past now can “visit” with Rita via her very own Google Classroom, called Rita’s Barkroom. During this time it can be helpful to keep established connections (or make new ones) for those who don’t have access to this type of “therapy” at home.
Rita’s Barkroom has photos and videos of Rita posted daily, keeping a positive and upbeat tone. Rita’s Barkroom will hopefully help students and staff stay connected with Rita, bring a smile to others’ faces, and offer the benefits of therapy dog visits to the greatest extent possible right now.
Rita’s Barkroom is private and only able to be viewed by staff and students of my school district.
Margarita had her “first day at college” with a great visit at Rowan College at Burlington County meeting students and staff in the Student Success Center for their Mental Health Week event, while she helped enlighten them on the positive benefits therapy dogs provide for students with depression and anxiety!
The event was sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa Chi lota Chapter and RCBC Student Support.
The first full week of October focused on increasing understanding of what mental illness feels like, so others can learn more about the wide range of symptoms experienced by those living with a mental illness.
In addition, the purpose of this week was to also reduce the misunderstanding and stigma associated with mental health conditions.
Those of you who have been following along know that Rita became a registered Therapy Dog. My school district decided to start a Therapy Dog program, and Rita was one of the first dogs starting the program!
My students were super-excited! They made welcome signs, and we marked the calendar for her first day of school!
Students created posters and centimeter cube formations to welcome Rita to our class:
Ready for her first day of school with her Paw Patrol backpack!
Rita did very well with the kids, and the students enjoyed having Rita by their side as they practiced multiplication facts.
Rita was quite exhausted after her first day with the students, and napped her way through my Prep period.
Rita’s first day was a success – what a great program this will be for the students!