Warwick School District seeking facility dogs for campuses

WARWICK TOWNSHIP, Lancaster County, Pa. --- Facility dogs could soon find homes within the Warwick School District.

It’s an idea Dr. Ryan Axe, director of secondary education within the district, said has been discussed for, at least, the last five years.

In the wake of tragedies involving the deaths of three students in two separate incidents in a span of a little over a month, Dr. Axe said they’re seeing the impact dogs can have on the spirits of students and staff.

“Sometimes when a dog comes into a room, it just lights up the room. People want to pet the dog and there’s some of the things they may be feeling may go away,” said Dr. Axe.

In partnership with the Warwick Education Foundation, a fundraiser is being held to add facility dogs to each of the six campuses within the Warwick School District.

Currently, the district can afford three facility dogs.

Their goal is to raise $30,000 to give each campus a dog.

Their vision for the facility dog is to keep it on campus all day, serving roles of emotional support to an incentive-based tool.

They also plan to have the dogs go home with selected staff members at the end of each day.

Dr. Axe said the recent work they've seen with dogs interacting with students and staff reinforces the need to put a plan in place.

“A lot of times, when you have an idea…until you see it in play or in action, it’s difficult to envision how it could be used on a regular basis. I think that was the result of the recent month that we’ve had,” said Dr. Axe

He also said there is still planning in the works, such as an application process for staff members seeking to participate and what group will help provide the dogs.

Dr. Axe said the goal is to have some facility dogs in place by the start of next school year.

He said they're hoping to have a facility dog on all six of the campuses in a year or year and a half.

To donate, follow the link to the fundraiser here.

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