Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Distinction Paper

Degree Name





Dr. Cynthia Laurie-Rose

First Committee Member

Dr. Michele Acker

Second Committee Member

Dr. Jim Bowling


Therapy Dogs, Emotional Regulation, Grit, High School Classroom, Facility Dog, Mental Well-being

Subject Categories

Higher Education


The purpose of this pilot study was to examine influences of interaction with a trained facility therapy dog on a sample of high school students. Much of the existing literature on animal assisted therapy interaction engages with populations of younger children, college-aged adults, the elderly. This small sample (n=8) of adolescents provides insight into a population that despite benefiting from the interventions, is not widely studied. Emotional regulation and grit inventories were used to compare scores before and after direct interactions with the therapy dog. Emotional regulation scores improved following direct exposure to the therapy dog over a one-week period, although grit scores did not. This exploratory study suggests two lines of research: the impact of a facility dog on adolescent populations in schools, and the possible role of emotional regulation as the mechanism that underlays the promotion of well-being with therapy dog interaction.

Licensing Permission

Copyright, all rights reserved. Fair Use

Acknowledgement 1


Acknowledgement 2