By Carol Britton Meyer
To help support students' social and emotional well-being during these challenging times, an affectionate chocolate lab therapy dog named "Taco" has been visiting Hingham High School under the volunteer Dog B.O.N.E.S. program.
Dog B.O.N.E.S. is an acronym for "Dogs Building Opportunities for Nurturing and Emotional Support."
HHS Adjustment Counselor Kevin Lalli said these visits are "a big stress reliever and an opportunity for kids who might not otherwise have a conversation to connect with one another when visiting with Taco."
This friendly visitor greets students as they enter the school, in-between classes, and during mask breaks.
From 8 to 10 a.m. Taco is available to visit classrooms as requested by various teachers.
Lalli and fellow adjustment counselor Jessica Hoguet are working with Michelle Grady, Taco's handler, to schedule the visits.
The mission of this non-profit is to provide well-trained, affectionate, obedient dogs that are registered and insured for visits to schools, hospitals, nursing facilities, and other locations to provide therapeutic contact with children, the disabled, and senior citizens and "to bring a little fun into someone's day."
The overall feedback from students, parents, and teachers has been positive. So far Taco has visited dozens of classrooms. "The positive impact she had was immediate," Hoguet said. "We heard students making comments such as: 'My day just got infinitely better'; 'I NEED to see this dog'; and 'I've been looking for her all morning.'"
Taco's visits will continue until the end of the school year, subject to her availability.
For more information, visit https://www.therapydog.info/