WF Police & WF Schools Partner on Comfort K-9 Program
In May 2022, the West Fargo Police Department announced the state’s very first comfort dog/School Resource Officer (SRO) pairing. Bella is a labrador mix that will be working with Elementary SRO Todd Pearson.
West Fargo Public Schools is honored to be part of the first comfort dog/SRO team in the state of North Dakota, and thanks the West Fargo Police Department for pursuing this innovative opportunity to work with learners, educators, and families.
We are so excited to welcome K-9 Bella to our SRO team!
Research studies have shown the benefits of comfort dogs in school settings to be numerous:
- Cognitive: Companionship with a dog stimulates memory, problem-solving, and game playing.
- Social: A dog provides a positive mutual topic for discussion while encouraging responsibility, wellbeing, and focused interaction with others.
- Emotional: School dogs improve self-esteem, acceptance from others, and lift your mood, often provoking laughter and fun. Dogs can also teach compassion and respect for other living things as well as relieve anxiety.
- Physical: Interaction with a furry friend reduces blood pressure, provides tactile stimulation, assists with pain management, gives motivation to move, and stimulates the senses.
- Academic: Reading to dogs has been proven to help children develop literacy skills and build confidence, through both the calming effect the dog's presence has on children as well as the fact that a dog will listen to children read without being judgemental or critical. This comforting environment helps to nurture children's enthusiasm for reading and provides them with the confidence to read aloud.
Comfort K-9 Bella
SRO Pearson & Bella
While West Fargo Public Schools believes in the benefits of a comfort K-9 program in schools, we would be remiss if we didn't acknowledge the challenges associated with having a dog on campus. In schools with long-standing comfort K-9 programs, they have identified the most common challenges as allergies, previous trauma or a fear of dogs, and religious restrictions. A new form was added to the online registration process for all learners in grades PK-5 for Fall 2022, which will allow SRO Pearson to work collaboratively with educators and learners to plan appropriate interactions with comfort K-9 Bella.
We hope you will join us in welcoming Bella to the West Fargo Public Schools family, and embrace all that she and her handler, SRO Pearson, have to offer our school community. If you have any questions or concerns about this program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.