Parkland Therapy Dogs Appear In Yearbook

They take their rightful place in the school’s memories
By Karen B. London PhD, May 2019

School yearbooks help us remember the events and activities of the year as well as all of the members of the community—teachers, staff, fellow students and others. The “others” in this year’s edition of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School yearbook include 14 therapy dogs. These trained dogs first showed up the day the students returned to school following a mass shooting in February 2018, and have brought comfort and happiness to this school rocked by tragedy.

The yearbook staff got the idea to devote a page of their yearbook to these therapy dogs when a dog belonging to the school’s media specialist was photographed on picture day. On the day of make-up pictures, the therapy dogs were each photographed so that their portraits could be included in the annual publication.

The response to the page honoring these therapy dogs has been positive. The portrait of the dog with the bow tie has prompted favorable comparisons with prom pictures. There have been suggestions that every one of these therapy dogs should be a “valedogtorian”. Though some people have commented on the chilling reality that therapy dogs are so common at the school, they still believe that featuring them in the yearbook was a good call.

Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral problems, including aggression. She has authored five books on canine training and behavior.

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