The Mid-Prairie Community School District believes that therapy dogs can be a vital resource in district schools and classrooms and their use will be encouraged.
Professional School Therapy Dogs certified with their handlers as Certified Assistance Dog Teams provide emotional and physical support in the educational setting. These highly trained dogs model good behavior, tolerance, and acceptance. All Certified Assistance Dog Teams in the Mid-Prairie Community School District (MPCSD) work to support and positively influence both student achievement and student well being.
Professional Therapy Dogs are trained and tested to provide specific physical or therapeutic functions under the direction and control of a qualified handler who works with the dog as a team, and as a part of the handler’s occupation or profession.
The MPCSD retains ownership of the therapy dog until such services of the therapy dog are no longer needed or when the therapy dog retires from duty.
The daily care health management plan must be managed by the Handler and follow the guidelines recommended by CARES Inc. in Concordia, Kansas. Daily care includes the following: nutritional needs including pet food and water; grooming; and provisions for exercising the animal.
1. The Handler must provide a record of annual vaccinations received by the dog and signed by the primary veterinarian; these health records should be kept on file in the school building and in the MPCSD Central Office.
2. The therapy dog shall be given a comprehensive wormer or fecal check for worms annually.
3. The dog shall be checked for external parasite control.
4. The Handler shall give preventive parasite (fleas and ticks) control and heartworm medication year-round. Annual tests shall be given for heartworm.
5. The therapy dog shall be groomed and bathed regularly as well as regular brushing of the dog’s teeth, regular nail trimming, and cleaning/checks of the dog’s ears.
The scheduling of therapy dog services will be coordinated with the Handler and/or the following staff: Behavior Interventionist(s), Classroom Teacher(s), Counselor(s), and/or Building Principal.
The Mid-Prairie Community School District will pay for all expenses in obtaining a therapy dog.
Therapy dog guidelines and procedures will be reviewed at least annually with all staff and students. Public and staff concerns about the use of therapy dogs shall be directed to the building administrator. A school district canine oversight committee may be established to assist with concerns. The oversight committee purpose is to provide general assistance with questions and answers pertinent to the use of therapy dogs; review therapy dog policies, procedures, and guidelines as needed; and educate the school community regarding the use of and value of therapy dogs in the school setting. This committee’s members may include therapy dog handler(s), school counselors, teachers, parents, building administrator(s), a veterinarian, and/or service dog trainers.
The Handler can submit veterinary expenditures and pet food receipts for a total amount up to $1,500.00 per year. Any amount over $1,500.00 shall require district preapproval.
The School Board shall determine a specific therapy dog’s future should that therapy dog’s Handler leave district employment before the therapy dog retires. Options include the following: district maintains possession, Handler possession with full or partial replacement costs paid to district, or Handler possession with no payment to the district. The school board, with superintendent recommendation, shall consider, but not be limited to, the following factors: age of therapy dog, estimated years of useful service until retirement, health of therapy dog, original costs of therapy dog, and therapy dog replacement costs.