'She just makes people happy.' Therapy dog has helped students at Smithtown middle school

Principal John Scomillo says since Darcy started coming to school, they have seen an improvement in students' attendance and social skills.

Antoinette Biordi

Apr 24, 2023, 10:37 PM

Updated 397 days ago

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A therapy dog at Great Hollow Middle School in Smithtown is helping students improve their mental health.
Nicole Kerins, one of the middle school counselors, brought up the idea of bringing Darcy the therapy dog into the building for students after seeing many of them suffer from anxiety and other mental health problems coming out of the pandemic.
"She was just made for this, she just makes people happy," Kerins says.
Darcy, a 9-year-old golden retriever, is also Kerin's pet and was certified to be a therapy dog. She visits students at the middle school twice a week.
Principal John Scomillo says since Darcy started coming to school, they have seen an improvement in students' attendance and social skills.
School officials say studies have shown therapy dogs help lower children's stress levels just by being present in the room.
Both Smithtown East and West high schools have therapy dogs in their buildings.


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