The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

Ruff days fade away

Therapy dog event at Park
Sophomore+Tess+Machalek+visits+a+therapy+dog+March+19.+The+therapy+dogs+work+to+help+students+navigate+their+stressful+lifestyles.
Rowan Jansen
Sophomore Tess Machalek visits a therapy dog March 19. The therapy dogs work to help students navigate their stressful lifestyles.

This week Natural Helpers hosted a therapy dog event for students to meet four different therapy dogs during classes. Students were able to use the event to destress during the last two weeks before spring break.

The club wanted a unique approach to student support, a main goal of the club. Club advisor Barb Nelson said she was aware of the dogs and thought it would be a great opportunity for students.

“We used them before when we had different crisis situations that happened in Saint Louis Park Schools, so I was aware of them,” Nelson said. “Natural Helpers was looking for different ways to do outreach and offer support to students. This was a great way to combine those two things.”

Students were able to sign up during the day to leave class and pet the dogs. According to junior Cora Zumbrunnen, it was relaxing to leave and join the meeting.

“I think they’re super calming,” Zumbrunnen said. “It’s a nice break from school during the day.”

The dogs also provide other emotional benefits. Club president Chloe Lorentz said she notices the joy the dogs are providing.

“Seeing them and petting them is very relaxing and makes you happy,” Lorentz said. “It takes your mind off of things.”

The signup was available to all students, regardless of if you are in the club or not. For many students it was their first time experiencing the event. According to sophomore Tess Machalek, it was her first time meeting the dogs and she enjoyed it.

“This is my first time seeing them,” Machalek said. “But, if they do therapy dogs in the future I’d like to see them again.”

The dogs are trained service dogs from North Star Therapy animals. According to Lorentz, these dogs have visited Park before.

“These people volunteer and they have their therapy dogs who travel to different places.” Lorentz said. “This is the second time these dogs have come to the school (Park) this year.”

It is not determined when the dogs will be returning, but according to Nelson, the dogs will be returning sometime before finals week in June.

“Our president Chloe would be in charge of that, but I’m not sure if that is figured out for sure,” said Nelson. “We are thinking sometime in May, either the 14th or the 21st. There will be posters up in the school.”

Natural Helpers next meeting is March 25th at 7:45am in room A204.

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About the Contributors
Gabby Fadden, Echo Staffer
My name is Gabby and I am a sophomore. This is my first year on Echo. I like to play sports and a fun fact about me is that I have 3 dogs. 
Rowan Jansen, Echo Staffer
Hello, my name is Rowan Jansen and I am a Junior at SLP High School. I like to play softball and hockey in my free time. This is my first year on Echo and I'm looking forward to the year. 

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