Therapy Dog Helps Students at Reeds Spring Intermediate School

Reeds Spring Intermediate School has begun using a trained therapy dog to comfort and support students. Ranger is a four-year-old Goldendoodle owned by teacher Jancy Burke.

"I thought a therapy dog might give students a purpose and a joy in coming to school that they hadn’t had before," Burke said.

A therapy dog must be trained and certified. The school district's policy allows therapy dogs that provide a supportive or therapeutic service for students. Therapy dogs are not for the personal use of students or employees and are utilized at the discretion of district administrators. The goal is for Ranger to enhance the learning environment with his calm presence to further support student learning. Ranger stays with Burke at all times.

"We walk the hallways and visit classrooms. Children ask if they can pet him," Burke said. "He’s just the right size to put his head on their lap or sit down beside them so they can read."

"He’s adorable," said sixth-grader Tegan Addie. "I like petting him."

"He’s awesome," added sixth-grader Reese Lowe. "A good dog."

Burke said one of the most rewarding results of having Ranger in school is his effect on some students on the autism spectrum who are nonverbal.

"One little boy responds very well to Ranger, and we get almost complete sentences, sometimes two or three sentences in a row when he’s talking about the puppy, the student calls Ranger puppy," Burke said.

Burke said students have responded so well to Ranger, she's thinking about taking him to visit other schools in the district.

"He looks adorable, cute, and cuddly," Lowe said.

"Ranger is the best!" Addie concluded.

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Click here to watch a Facebook video of Ranger.

Click here to watch the video on YouTube.