New York City schools expanding comfort dog program

PARK SLOPE, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Students at New York City schools will see more four-legged friends running through their halls as the district expands its comfort dog program.

Some of the newest dogs recruited for the program were introduced Thursday.

Bailey, an 11-week-old puppy, may be cute and snuggly, but he has a job to do at MS 88 in Brooklyn.

The Australian labradoodle is one of eight new dogs now in place in public schools as part of the expansion of the comfort dog program.

The goal is for Bailey to finish his training in the next 16 weeks so he can be integrated into the classroom.

It has been proven that animals can positively impact students' academic and social-emotional well-being.

Librarian Kyra Wolfe is in charge of teaching Bailey the ropes.

"Being around an animal is really silly and allows children to open up a little bit and let their guard down a little bit and maybe talk about things that they may have a hard time talking about," Wolfe said.

Hannah Fear suffers from anxiety and had an attack in school.

She spent time with Petey, another comfort dog at the school, and said it really made a difference.

"It grounds you and gives you a sense of where you are and helps take you out of your mental state, and it helps kids relax and breathe," Fear said.

By the end of the school year, the comfort dogs will be in more than 60 schools.

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