Education is really evolving with the advent of technology and other aides for learning. Recently, Professor Dogs or dogs used to aid student learning have been gaining mainstream momentum in Western countries like the United States of America. In fact, institutions like schools and hospitals have already been using animals to serve as companion for children experiencing certain difficulties.
Animal-assisted therapy is not a new concept. As a matter of fact, Doctor Dogs have already been around for quite some time as they are utilized to give joy to sick children in hospitals. Because Doctor Dogs are now not only confined in hospital settings, variations have been developed to cater to the needs of individuals with special needs – thus the emergence of Professor Dogs.
What Do Professor Dogs Do?
Especially intended as reading companions, dogs are believed to provide therapeutic effects to children who find it difficult to read. In the presence of dogs, they can read out loud without fear of being judged because of mispronunciation or reading pace. This way, children will develop love for reading which will further enable them to enhance their skills.
In the Philippines, though it is not yet popular, Professor Dogs are already promoted by the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). They invite volunteers to register their dogs to go through a temperament test to determine if the dogs are fit to immerse with the unpredictable behavior of kids. If they pass, the dogs will be employed to schools to serve as teacher aides.
In each session, kids would have a chance to interact one on one with dogs. They would have the opportunity to read stories for the animals, and also would be able to play and to sing songs – or even to dance – with them. Dog Parents, who also serve as program facilitators, are certainly prepared as they have instructional materials and rewards appropriate to make the learning experience more enjoyable.
What Are Its Chances in the Philippines?
Animal-assisted therapy like Professor Dogs are beneficial in the emotional and intellectual development of children. However, given the objective conditions of Philippine education, it might not yet reach its peak. Of course, it is desired that all children have equal opportunities to enjoy this kind of learning assistance. But unless the government prioritizes education, it will not push through to its zenith.
We appreciate the efforts of dog parents and Non-Government Organizations in initiating such innovation. Nonetheless, this is a systemic action. In the near future, it is best if the government provides for accessible education so that no child will be left behind in attaining the greatest potential for learning. If this becomes the case, it will be easier for dog lovers to share their advocacy and the government could help in promoting this initiative.
Paws Up Because Hope’s Up
More importantly, Professor Dogs have already been introduced in the Philippines. We are now at par with developed countries in introducing variations of animal-assisted therapy. This is the time when we must radically change our mindset about the role of animals in society.
Dogs are not merely guards of our houses, or simply living under the power of mankind. They are special beings that also need our attention. If properly cared for, dogs could eventually achieve their highest potential as animals.
The radical change on how we view dogs could even lead to Professor Dogs being a phenomenon that would help a generation how to read and to love books. That’s the ultimate reward of it all!
Do you think your dog have what it takes to become a Professor Dog? You may visit PAWS and have your pet take a temperament test. You may also contact their office at 4751688 for further inquiries.