School’s Best Friend

About the Program

School's Best Friend falls under the HIP Cares program umbrella. We work directly with schools and educators to tailor our services for each class. We work with local special education teachers to enhance classroom instruction for exceptional students. Teachers incorporate Therapy Teams by teaching life skills, speech therapy, social skills, and occupational therapy through the use of a special “Activity Vest” the dog wears in the classroom.

For instance, we may guide students on the morning routine for getting ready for school. The Therapy Team would demonstrate all the steps using the dog. Students could practice washing the dog's face, feeding it breakfast, and dressing it in appropriate clothes for the weather. The activity vest can also be used for teaching colors or letters.

To request services from the School's Best Friend teams, click here.



School's Best Friend calls on both Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA) and Animal-Assisted Education (AAE). AAA is more informal than Animal-Assisted Therapy interventions and does not require the direction of a health care professional. Specific treatment goals are not planned for AAA visits; however, they provide opportunities to enhance quality of life while creating positive emotions. AAE helps students achieve academic and educational goals in the classroom.

Through School's Best Friend, HIP Teams help students build reading skills, gain confidence, and foster pro-social behaviors.


Our Programs

The need for these services continues to grow. To learn how you can support the School’s Best Friend program, contact Caroline Bundy, Director of Development, at

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