Therapy dog programs in schools are becoming increasingly popular as they provide numerous benefits for students. Valparaiso Community Schools Superintendent, Julie Lauck, recognized the positive effects of therapy dogs and wanted more schools in her district to have access to them. Through fundraising efforts, she was able to secure sponsorship for nine golden retriever puppies for the upcoming school year. Research has shown that having a dog present in the school promotes a positive mood, reduces stress, and lowers blood pressure and heart rate. Interacting with therapy dogs also has physical, social, cognitive, and emotional benefits for students. These dogs provide companionship, support, and a calming presence, helping students manage anxiety, stress, and behavioral challenges. The Valparaiso Community Schools Viking Puppy Project welcomes donations to support the program and provide resources for the dogs and their training. Learn more at Guard911.