Welcome to New York City Comfort Dog Program
Comfort Dogs offer goal-specific and measurable activities with students through the use of Animal Assisted Interventions within the pedagogical environment. These dogs, which must undergo extensive training prior to participating in interventions, provide our students with a safe, welcoming environment and act as a motivational tool, offering emotional stability and support.
The New York City Department of Education announced the Comfort Dog Pilot Program on December 16, 2016. In partnership with the North Shore Animal League and staff members from the DOE’s Office of Counseling and Support Programs, seven city schools incorporated the use of rescued comfort/therapy dogs in their classrooms. The program was developed by the DOE Office of Counseling and Support. Then, schools were using the comfort dogs specifically for counseling support and de-escalation support.
In the past 6 years, the Comfort Dog Program has grown to fifty schools utilizing a comfort Dog Team. Today our teams work with students in all aspects of their education; academics, speech, OT/PT and since Covid-19, Social Emotional Learning.
Through the inclusion of animal assisted interventions, the Comfort Dog program creates an innovative learning environment for children offering emotional, therapeutic, academic and positive behavioral support. We focus on assisting each child to learn new skills , gain confidence, and obtain goals with a canine companion by their side.
We accomplish this mission by:
Establishing and communicating standards of practice for the use of specially trained animals in the school setting.
Providing education to healthcare professionals, educators and school leaders.
Educating schools and communities on the opportunities and benefits of Animal Assisted Interventions
Providing the highest quality and best trained Comfort Dog AAI teams to the students we serve.
Every day, Comfort Dog teams motivate, inspire and comfort students by providing excellence in health, education , hope and healing. The Comfort Dogs program follows internationally recognized standards and provides educational expertise and high standard certification programs for the successful management of animal assisted interventions In schools.