• Meet Lander
    Sitton Schools Facility / Therapy Dog

    Lander's Picture


    ABOUT LANDER                                              

    Lander lives with Ms. Jessica, Sitton’s school psychologist, and her family. Lander is calm, loves all interactions with humans (especially kids!).

    Lander was adopted from Dogs for Better Lives, a national non-profit organization dedicated to the professional training of dogs to enhance the lives of their clients. They train hearing dogs, autism assistance dogs, and facility dogs. Lander is a facility dog, which means he is trained to calmly interact in social settings and to do specific, skilled tasks to support the work of his owner. Facility dogs support educators, psychologists, physicians, counselors, etc. He has specific training in working with children with disabilities and in working with all children on emotional regulation. He is accredited with Assistance Dogs International. 


    Lander will be integrated into the Sitton community through Ms. Jessica’s work (some of which includes supporting mental health and wellness school-wide). He is also available for integration into classrooms, depending on teacher/student needs and preference. Ms. Jessica and Sitton staff have generated many ideas, including:

    • Read to Lander to increase fluency/confidence
    • Hold a “job” caring for Lander (such as brushing fur) to increase attendance, empathy, sense of responsibility, and sense of community
    • Include Lander as a resource in restorative circles/difficult conversations
    • Access Lander to assist with emotional regulation
    • Earn Lander time as a whole class or individual reward for demonstrating core values

    Research indicates access to a trained animal in an educational setting has many benefits for students, including increased excitement/joy in coming to school every day, compassion/empathy, attendance rate, prosocial behaviors, academic achievement, sense of belonging, and decreased levels of emotional/physical dysregulation. 

    Students will be introduced to Lander thoughtfully and appropriate interactions will be taught and reinforced. We are very excited to welcome Lander as a new staff member at Sitton!

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    Please reach out to Rebecca Berry, David Martinez, or Jessica O’Connor