Service dog helps students cope with stress, anxiety
Students at Lampeter-Strasburg High School are getting a helping paw, from Maya, a black Labrador specially trained to sense anxiety and relieve it. The service animal performs a technique called “squishing,” during which she lays on a person’s abdomen, helping to calm feelings of anxiety or stress. The school’s Aevidum Club, which aims to create a culture of support for those dealing with depression, bullying and anxiety, helped raise funds to bring Maya to the school. In May 2016 the school was matched with Maya, from Susquehenna Service Dogs, and several school staff members became certified handlers. Now a regular at the high school, Maya rotates between different classrooms throughout the day and is available for students in the nurse’s office. In addition, students in the life-skills class are learning to care for and interact with Maya as part of their curriculum.