The Healing Paws Project

What is the Healing Paws Project?

Crete-Monee School District 201U is proud to introduce The Healing Paws Project, a therapy dog program that has been in development for more than a year, and which will eventually be available district-wide to all students and staff in every district school.  This project began in 2019 at the alternative therapeutic day school in the district, the Monee Education Center, which piloted the program under the direction of Director Brian Wortel, with an in-house therapy dog.  The overwhelmingly positive response from students, staff, and the community was the impetus to expand the program throughout the district.

Empirical evidence from research studies shows that therapy dogs can enhance a child’s psychological development and social skills, as well as increasing self-esteem.  There are physiological benefits to students as well, and, in fact, the simple act of petting a dog has the effect of lowering blood pressure and heart rate, and pet therapy can lower stress hormones, like cortisol, and increase oxytocin.  In other words, just being in contact with a therapy dog can calm kids down when they’re upset and can help keep anxiety at bay.  Reducing feelings of anxiety and depression enables a child to focus on and become “available” for learning. CM201U administration and staff recognize the benefits of therapy dogs in schools and support the expansion of the program.  To that end, this year the district has approved two additional therapy dogs.
Click the link below to learn more about our newest initiative and frequently asked questions! The Healing Paws Project: Quick Guide
Please fill out the permission slip below and return it to the school if you would like your student to participate in our Healing Paws Project. This permission slip will allow your student to interact with our therapy dog, Gracie! Permission Slip: The Healing Paws Project
The Will County Forest Preserve did an article on our therapy dog, Gracie! Click the link below to learn more. Meet Gracie
Gracie was featured in another news paper article! Click the link to read the article. Newspaper Article: Gracie Healing Paws Project

Gracie gives thanks to the brave men and women who saved Rocco from the Monee Reservoir! Thank You Monee Fire Protection District

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