We are immeasurably grateful for the backing that we continue to receive from our incredibly generous supporters, teachers, parents and donors, and as always, a group of amazing volunteers. Without your support, countless children would not be able to find a calm, caring, trusting environment at school, at the courthouse or in the hospital.
What’s in A Name?
A lot! The organization started 2017 as Roxy Reading Therapy Dogs and it is ending the year as Roxy Therapy Dogs. Why did we shorten/change our name? It’s pretty simple, actually. As the organization has grown, so has the scope of our programs for children. While Roxy’s commitment to promoting literacy is still very strong, we have found over the years that we are able to help more children including those struggling with other issues as well.
Here’s what Roxy Therapy Dogs President Sharon Fleck had to say about the name change:
“Roxy was founded on our childhood literacy program, which remains a major part of our work, but our teams now serve children needing comfort in many other areas. The new name presents a more accurate picture of who we are without losing our inspiration, Roxy.”
Founder Diane Smith added: “Responding to community requests to bring comfort to children with our therapy dog teams drew us into programs in the courts and the medical system. I expect that new requests will continue to broaden our list of programs.”
Included with our name change are our new logo (above), new web address roxytherapydogs.org and new social media links. Please follow us!
New and Exciting Therapy Dog Studies
Roxy Therapy Dogs is very excited to be participating in two therapy dog studies. Roxy Teams will be working with two Delaware Valley University students and one of their professors, Jennifer Shelly, a veterinarian and Roxy Therapy Dogs Board Member, to study the effects of therapy dog visits on the pups themselves. They will measure both behavioral as well as physiological indicators of stress.
Roxy Teams will also be working with a graduate student studying Psychology and CB West High School West Guidance Coordinator, Lisa Corr (also a Roxy Therapy Dogs Board Member) to assess and measure the impact of therapy dog sessions on children at school.
Stay tuned and watch for the study results in our Roxy Reporter Newsletter and/or next year’s Year in Review.
Roxy Volunteers Helping Bucks County Kids in Other Ways
Roxy Volunteers donated clothes and toiletries to The Fiaria Project to help a child going through the foster care system in Bucks County. The Fiaria Project makes placement transitions easier for foster families in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area by providing foster children with essential clothing, toiletries, and other basic items. We loved teaming up with them because these are the same children we comfort at Dependency Court.
Literacy for All
The Literacy for All program in the Central Bucks School District has grown by leaps and bounds this year! There are now over 75 teams visiting over 120 classes each week in 14 elementary schools. That’s over 2,500 children a week who benefit from the comfort and support of the amazing therapy dog teams!
A New Chapter Begins for Roxy and Kutz Elementary School
On March 22nd, Phyllis Mikolaj and Anya (pictured on left) became the first Roxy team to visit Kutz Elementary School. “The enthusiasm and excitement have been amazing,” says Phyllis (Roxy Director of Schools).
There are now 6 teams supporting 1st and 2nd grade classrooms but more teams are planned for this school year so that more children can participate. Thank you to all who have helped support these deserving kids and their teachers.
“The impact of Roxy Reading on my first grade students has been astounding. They are motivated and excited to read each week! Even my most reluctant reader can’t wait to pick out his books to read to Anya. The program has also helped their fluency and expression because of the repeated readings they do together.
Additionally, the program has motivated several students to explore the world of nonfiction because they want to learn more about the dogs and how to care for them. However, the most powerful impact has been in our overall classroom environment. Kids are more excited than ever to come in to school and count down the days until “our dog” comes in. Thank you, Roxy Reading, for being such an important and beneficial part of our classroom!”
Alexandra Zucchero, Elementary Teacher, First grade, Kutz Elementary
Courthouse Therapy Dog Program Continues to Grow
Roxy Therapy Dogs is proud of its two courthouse programs: Dependency Court in the Children and Youth program and our highly regarded Minor Victims of Violent Crimes program partnering with NOVA (Network of Victims Assistance).
There are now over 45 specialized teams who support and comfort abused or neglected children in and out of the courtroom. This is a new therapy dog, Titan (right), who is a sweet rescue dog who needed help and is now helping kids.
Thanks to many generous donors and supporters, we were able to replenish our supply of Roxy puppies that are provided to each child in court.
“Roxy Reading Therapy dogs and their owners are an elite group of citizens who provide an extraordinary service to our community. The mere presence of the dogs dramatically decreases anxiety in everyone involved in Dependency Court. The children receive non-judgmental acceptance and love from the dogs that seems to immediately alleviate apprehensions that may prevent the child from being a part of their hearing where their involvement is desperately needed. The value of the courthouse dogs is priceless.”
The Honorable Robert J. Mellon, Bucks County Court of Common Pleas
Happy Retirement to Maggie Sivak and Welcome Melissa D’Amato!
Maggie Sivak has retired as Director of the Courthouse Therapy Dogs program for the past year and has been with Roxy for 10 years. Thank you Maggie for all of your help!
We are happy to welcome Melissa D’Amato (left) as the new Director of the Courthouse Therapy Dogs program! Melissa has been with Roxy for several years as a School Ambassador. Please help us welcome her in this new role!
“I truly feel honored to work with the exceptional people of RTD and look forward to expanding my role.”
Throughout 2017 the volunteer teams have eased the stress for students taking exams at Delaware Valley University, attended fun community events like A-Day and the Doylestown Farmer’s Market, and also have been the beneficiaries of local fundraisers at Pet Valu, the Interact Club at CB West, and countless elementary schools as well. In addition, we also have several “Pawtograph” events for the community to meet our dogs and to share Roxy Therapy Dogs’ first children’s book, Be Like Bud.
Support and Comfort
The High School Student Support program continues to be very beneficial for CBSD high school students and the therapy dogs love comforting them during stressful times in their lives. There are 12 teams who visit students in CBSD high schools that participate in various support groups ranging from bereavement to stress and anxiety support.
The support for CBSD students does not stop when the school year ends. Work continues with CBSD children who are challenged either cognitively, physically, or emotionally in the summer months through the Extended School Year Program and Intermediate Unit classes. For these students, having classes available in the summer is imperative to their continued development and success.
“There is nothing better than the unconditional love an animal can provide. But did you know that dogs can also reduce your blood pressure and lower stress hormones while increasing oxytocin, respiratory and cardiovascular health. I have been so fortunate to watch these benefits firsthand every marking period in my Stress Management & Healthy Living Course.”
Christine Cochran, Health & Physical Education, Central Bucks High School East
Roxy Therapy Dogs continues to be the exclusive therapy dog group invited to visit the patients in The Carol and Louis Della Penna Pediatric Center at Doylestown Hospital. Children and their families enjoy visits from 13 therapy dog teams whenever they need a comforting visit.
Teams also remain active in Pedia Manor’s group homes for medically fragile children. There are 4 teams that visit the residents, and the children love being hugged and kissed by their cuddly, furry friends!
2017 Roxy Therapy Dogs Team Photo
We are so excited to share our 2017 Roxy Therapy Dogs team photo! These are the wonderful people and dogs that help bring comfort and support to so many children in our community. Thank you for your continued support of our mission and our organization!
Fetch a copy of Roxy Therapy Dogs’ first Children’s Book!
Bud and his friends are no ordinary dogs! Get a glimpse into the lives of the extraordinary Roxy Therapy Dogs and find out how you, your children, and loved children in your life can be just like them. This would make a great holiday gift for all dog lovers! Visit roxytherapydogs.org/be-like-bud ($15.00 Donation Plus Shipping)
If your dog has a great disposition, you could make a great therapy team! Join dozens of other volunteers and their dogs enjoying visits with children through Roxy Therapy Dogs.
Help support Roxy by shopping and walking! Look for Roxy Therapy Dogs on AmazonPrime and Walk with a Dog app.
Roxy Therapy Dogs services are provided entirely by unpaid volunteers and are 100% donation dependent. Your tax deductible donation enables children in Bucks County to benefit from the unique comfort delivered by a Roxy Therapy dog for years to come, right here at home.