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Butler Cty, OH: Junior school gets therapy dog for students "experiencing anxiety"

Feb 22, 2020, Dayton, OH, Butler County Journal-News: Lakota Schools experiment with therapy dogs As the class buzzer rings, among the students flooding the hallways is a first-year “classmate” who’s looking forward to some hugs and scratches behind her ears. That’s part of the class day when you are one of Lakota Schools’ first therapy dogs. “Zooey,” a three-year-old golden retriever and therapy dog, is now spending each class day at Hopewell Junior School in West Chester Twp. It’s an experiment to add the soothing presence of a trained canine to the usually hectic school environment. Zooey is available to any student in the school, and she has already made dozens of friends who pause in the hallways, classrooms or gym to show her some love. Another golden retriever, “Bendi,” works with students at Creekside Early Childhood School and Lakota West Freshman School, which share a campus…. “She greets them in the morning and you’ll just see kids relax … they love to see her,” Webber said. “Students who are experiencing anxiety or who are otherwise struggling during their school day may request time with Zooey.” And one of Zooey’s favorite tricks, she said, is to pick up stray pens or other small objects accidentally dropped by students. Betsy Fuller, spokeswoman for the district, said the dog is part of a pilot program and Circle Tail is covering the expenses. “Zooey is here to help all of our students – our special needs students as well as our general education students,” Fuller said. …
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