Luna Raptor comes from a line of working golden retrievers and was chosen from the litter as the one most likely to succeed as a therapy dog. She has years of training in obedience, public appearances, and therapy-specific exposure. Luna Raptor has earned the AKC Canine Good Citizen designation as well as the AKC Therapy Dog, Advanced Therapy Dog, and Therapy Dog Excellence titles, and she and her handler have met all the certification requirements to be a therapy team, including temperament and performance testing. They are members of the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, one of the largest therapy dog organizations working internationally for the past 30 years. Luna Raptor can be seen around campus several days a week! You can follow her adventures on her Instagram page @LunaRaptorCGC.
- A Service Dog is trained to perform specific tasks for one person with a disability.
- An Emotional Support Dog (ESA) provides comfort and emotional stability to one person as prescribed by a psychiatrist. They generally do not perform specific tasks.
- A Therapy Dog is trained with a specific handler and they are certified as a team. Together they work to bring comfort and joy to other people, most often in schools, hospitals, and other care facilities.
Luna Raptor’s is trained to provide comfort, attention, and affection. Therapy dogs support mental health and have been found to be highly beneficial to those who suffer from various mental and physical challenges. Scientific research has shown that the mere presence of a therapy dog can help people control anxiety, regulate emotions, and improve mood; petting a dog lowers the stress hormone cortisol while increasing levels of the feel-good hormones oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. Luna Raptor can often calm a student when adults cannot, and will co-regulate with them until they are able to manage on their own. She seems to sense who needs her most, and will move to lean on them or “hug” them with her head. Both staff and students alike will ask for time with Luna Raptor when they are having a hard day, and she is happy to oblige! Her antics keep us all smiling!