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Therapy Dog Coming to Salk

Salk has been approved to have a therapy dog visit. Charlie, the English Creme Golden Retriever, will be visiting once a week starting in March. Not only is Charlie a certified therapy dog, but he is one of Mr. Birkmeier's family dogs and he is so excited that Charlie will be joining the Salk family. Studies have shown that therapy dogs have the ability to increase positive emotions, promote engagement in learning activities and positive attitudes toward learning, reduce negative behaviors, as well as encourage prosocial behaviors, including acting as a social catalyst to facilitate social interactions with others.


Charlie is a certified therapy dog after completing his training and testing by The Alliance of Therapy Dogs. He has also earned the title of AKC Canine Good Citizen. Mr. Birkmeier is also a certified therapy dog handler after completing my testing and observations by The Alliance of Therapy Dogs.


Charlie's purpose is to ease student's anxieties and increase positive emotions. We do not want his presence to cause fear or anxiety. Charlie will be introduced in a positive manner and students will be instructed on how to interact with him. Parents have the ability to opt out of having their student interact with Charlie. If you DO NOT want your student to be around Charlie, then please fill out the opt out form linked here.


For the safety of students with allergies and Charlie, he will not be in the lunch room. Charlie will also remain out of classrooms in which parents have a student who opt out. Charlie will be under Mr. Birkmeier's supervision and kept on a leash at all times.


Charlie is looking forward to visiting. He would like to thank the Salk PTO for donating some supplies for him to be a part of Salk. More information about Charlie and our therapy dog program will be presented in future Scoops. Please reach out to Mr. Birkmeier if you have any questions or concerns.