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Man’s Best Friend

Meet Sidon: a Source of Support and Well-Being for One Local School

Sidon, Archbishop Moeller High School’s emotional support canine, is officially its first dog-ployee. 

Last spring, the school welcomed the addition of this now 3-year-old Yellow Lab, specifically trained to provide physical, social, cognitive and emotional assistance to young adults in a school environment. 

Sidon’s presence at Moeller was made possible through a partnership with the Keep Going 25 Foundation, which honors the legacy of 2020 graduate Michael Currin. 

Although Sidon initially began as a dog intern—joining the counseling department and working with their team—this good boy has since become a full-time staple at the school. According to veterinarians and educators, there are endless benefits to having a facility dog— including boosting morale and lowering stress levels. 

“Emotional support animals help individuals in stressful situations, or times that create intense emotions, to calm or stabilize,” says Sidon’s doctor, Dr. Peter Hill, DVM at PetCare Animal Hospital. Personal pets help do this to a degree, Dr. Hill says, but support dogs are trained to not react to the stressors and simply provide comfort. 

“Having an emotional support dog in a school setting can be an excellent tool for the administrators to use in a crisis or when tragedy strikes,” Dr. Hill says. “Dogs have an ability to get people to calm down, to talk to, even embrace when you just need a hug. These dogs require the same veterinary care as family dogs—annual physical exams, vaccinations and more. We see Sidon a few times a year for wellness checks and his preventative care.” 

“Facility dogs routinely bring joy and laughter to situations that might feel frightening,” says Kristen Merica, house counselor and Counseling Department Chair at Moeller. “Sidon provides something to talk and think about other than difficulties or problems—he helps both students and faculty cope with illness, depression and loneliness. Sidon lives with me, and I bring him to school each day. He loves coming to work!” 

PetCareCincinnati.com | KeepGoing25.org 

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