Welcome Mazy to SGCHS!
"When I look into the eyes of an animal, I do not see an animal. I see a living being. I see a friend. I feel a soul." - A.D. Williams
SGCHS is excited to welcome Mazy Jae, a Certified Wellness Dog to SGCHS. Mazy is a medium size, low allergen Australian Multigen Labradoodle. She has successfully been certified as a wellness dog. Her certification took place with CAAWLS (Chimo Animal Assisted Wellness and Learning Society). This means that Mazy has passed the criteria for being goodnatured, calm, gentle as well as being able to respond to basic commands and enjoy people.
Wellness dogs interact with people to enhance communication and positive mental health through actual contact. The most common overall benefits of Animal Assisted Interactions proven by research are:
- Reduced anxiety
- Reduced depression
- Increased motivation
- Increased social interactions
- Increased attendance (in therapy)
At this point, it is her owner's intention (Mrs. Stewart) to bring Mazy to Spruce Grove Composite High School for Pet Visitations one day per week and perhaps more often during potentially stressful events such as final exams in January and June. Pet Visitation provides the opportunity for people/animal interaction in an informal, safe environment.
Mazy passed her medical evaluation. This means that Mazy is a healthy dog; however, in order for Mazy to maintain her certification, she will be carefully monitored by CAAWLS to ensure the following health requirements are met and maintained throughout her career:
- An annual medical evaluation
- Be under a veterinarian’s care
- Maintain current immunizations
- Be free of lesions or hair loss
- Be bathed and have good oral hygiene
- Have nails trimmed and filed
- Maintain temperament expectations (in accordance with the definition of appropriate temperament used in the initial behavioral evaluation as deemed by a recognized animal assisted therapy organization)
Mazy has passed the above and is clear to attend school with her owner Mrs. Stewart, who is a School Counsellor in Student Services. Mazy will be on leash and under the direct supervision of Mrs. Stewart or trained staff at all times while she is working at the school.
Wellness and Therapy Dogs are becoming more common. Below is a list of a few examples:
- Stollery Children’s Hospital
- University of Alberta – Faculty of Science
- Dr. E.P. Scarlett and Oilfields High School as noted in the recent ATA News
- Boyle Street Education Center
- MacEwan University
- Fairmont Hotels are using Canine Ambassadors
Frequently Asked Questions:
What kinds of things will Mazy do at the school?
Mazy will mostly be in student services and the main floor hallways. Mazy will not be in the cafeteria. Wellness dogs are not allowed in areas where food is present.
Mazy can participate in all kinds of activities and interactions such as being a study buddy during exam periods, sitting with individual staff or students that need a stress break and spending time in our inreach or psychology classroom. The plan is for Mazy to visit Spruce Grove Composite High School one day per week.
I am allergic to dogs. How will the school ensure my safety/wellness?
Mazy has a poodle coat; she is nonshedding and lowallergen. Australian Labradoodles were originally bred to be Seeing Eye dogs for persons with allergies. Mazy will be cleaned before visits to the school. Mazy will also be on leash or contained at all times, so students or staff with allergies can avoid contact as necessary. Should Mazy be visiting a particular class, notice will be given in advance and student allergies assessed for that classroom. Staff and students will be reminded that it is important to also wash their hands before and/or after interacting with Mazy to keep both parties healthy. The school is also thoroughly cleaned each day by our custodians so any dander should be limited.
I am afraid of dogs or have an aversion to dogs.
If you are uncomfortable around dogs, you will be able to choose to avoid or not interact with Mazy. Should Mazy be in an area of the building or in a classroom and you are uncomfortable, you just need to let a staff member know. Boundaries for persons who are afraid or have an aversion to dogs will be respected.
Can we pet Mazy?
Yes. Mazy is not an ability service dog. Mazy will be working as a support animal with the goal of interacting with students and staff. It is always important to ask permission of the handler/trainer before approaching or petting any animal, including Mazy. Approaching from the side or standing or sitting beside Mazy and letting her take the lead to say hello is preferred and is considered the most appropriate way to meet.
Can I give Mazy dog treats?
Sometimes. Mazy will only eat at home but while she is working at the High School she can be given healthy dog treats. However, no people food allowed. Please confirm first with Mrs. Stewart.
Can I make an appointment to spend some time with Mazy?
Yes. Mazy is fully certified. She will have scheduled times and days that she will be in the school. Therefore, if a student or staff member have a special request and it meets the guidelines of animal assisted interactions, then an appointment with Mazy will be appropriate.