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Dogs head back to school in New York

Many schools in New York City are using dogs to soothe students and create a warm and friendly atmosphere, The New York Times reports.

Headmasters at private schools allow their dogs to lie at their feet in their offices, making them seem more approachable to students.

"Animals have an interesting ability to humanize the people that they are around," Robert Lauder, the head of Friends Seminary in the East Village, told the news source. "It's another way of making contact with somebody in a position of authority who can be somewhat remote-seeming. A dog is sort of a common denominator."

David B. Harman, headmaster of Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, told the news source that students come in and lie down with his 5-year-old Labrador retriever, Fenway. The dog has been a ploy in fundraising auctions for the school - a visit from Fenway to a child's class has gone for $1,000 - and attends sporting events, acting as a type of mascot.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, developing positive feelings about pets can boost a child's self esteem and self confidence. In addition, forming trusting relationships with animals can help them develop similar relationships with humans. 
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