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Moline, IL: Middle school adds therapy dog; staff wants one in every school

Cooper, a one-year-old Goldendoodle, is a new therapy dog at Wilson Middle School in Moline. The Moline-Coal Valley school district has a new staff member -- a therapy dog. Cooper is a one-year-old Goldendoodle that now works in the counseling office at Wilson Middle School in Moline. His owner, Marlena Urbain, is the school social worker. The new program at Wilson Middle School allows students to walk in to the counseling office throughout the day to see Cooper. Other students can stay longer if needed, and other students who are specifically assigned to Urbain's caseload may spend more time with Cooper individually, according to Urbain. One student said he comes down to the counseling office at least once per day to interact with Cooper. Cooper is part of a pilot program in the school district. While having Cooper is beneficial for students, Urbain said Cooper is benefiting staff, too…. Urbain said Cooper will eventually be moving around the hallways more regularly, and may also be integrated into classroom lesson plans to reach more students. Cooper is the only therapy dog in the school district right now. Urbain said she hopes to see the district expand the therapy dog program to reach more students. She said ideally each school eventually could add a therapy dog to its resources for students.


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