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East Jordan, MI: Elem school welcomes therapy dog; "social/emotional support for students"

Aug 19, 2021, Petoskey (MI) News-Review: Therapy dog returns to East Jordan Elementary School

East Jordan Public Schools welcomed a new, four-legged staff member during the 2020-2021 school year. Murrey, a two-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever, who is a professionally trained and certified therapy dog, had planned to be introduced to students and staff in the spring of 2020 until COVID-19 arrived and schools closed…. Although Murrey’s arrival at school was delayed, he arrived at the perfect time when school re-opened in the fall. In an uncertain time for students and staff, with having to wear face masks and learning new routines and procedures to combat COVID-19, Murrey’s new presence at the school certainly created an atmosphere of excitement and joy. One student commented that he made her feel like it was going to be the best year ever. Murrey goes to school every day and provides social and emotional support for students. Some of his duties include visiting classrooms during times when teachers request him, providing opportunities for students to earn rewards to have special “Murrey time” for good behavior, having scheduled times to meet with individual students who benefit from his support, and enjoying recess with the students. Murrey has a natural ability to calm kids down when they are upset or anxious. He’s been seen to stop a child’s tears in record time. He offers a friendship to someone needing a friend, or listens to students read with a non-judgmental ear. A fourth grade student commented that feeling Murrey's fur made him feel a calm and relaxed feeling. A fifth grader has said that she now feels like she has a best friend at school and if she was lonely, he was always there. Other students made remarks that Murrey made them feel full of life, safe, protected, like I can stand up for myself, and if I wasn’t having a good day, he made me happy….


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