Companion animals have come to campus. In 2017, St. Joseph’s Indian School trialed and approved the Houseparents and Pets In (HAPI) Homes program on campus. While a number of animals can be companion animals, at this point, so far, only dogs are part of our program.
Research shows that dogs support psychological growth, social skills and self-esteem in children and adolescents. They provide emotional support, positively impact reading progress and may decrease anxiety. There is evidence that people with pets experience less illness, recover more quickly from sickness and are more content and less lonely. It has even been show that having dogs around promotes human bonds.
HAPI Homes also teaches students the responsibility that goes into caring for an animal. Animals are owned by houseparents or other staff and have to meet strict guidelines to test their temperament. They must have documentation that they are up-to-date on shots, and a K-9 police officer must deem the dog fit to be around children. Dogs are never left alone with students
Also, through another pet-related program, “Helping Hands,,” students have the opportunity to be part of transporting adoptable animals to either their “forever” homes or to a rescue shelter.