Dog therapy program at Port Jefferson helps students destress

A new program at Port Jefferson Elementary School is hoping alleviate stress.
The new therapy dog program comes at a time when children have been dealing with remote learning and other pandemic challenges.
"So our story began three years ago with an amazing teacher at our high school level, our AP psychology teacher, brought in some dogs on a pilot basis," says Robert Neidig, assistant superintendent of the Port Jefferson School District.
The pilot was so successful they decided to make it a permanent part of the district-wide schedule.
The district partnered with Love On A Leash, a national organization, to make it a weekly program.
The program benefits students, the dog owners, teachers, administrators and the dogs.
"It's good for the culture of the building, it's good for the mental health and social emotional well-being of the students," Neidig says. "It helps the bond in the individual classroom between students and teachers and students themselves. It's a home run and I recommend it for every district here on Long Island."