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Waldoboro, ME: Middle school therapy dog good for "de-escalating a frustrated student"

May 18, 2018, Waldoboro, ME, Village Soup: Tilla brings empathy to the fore at local middle school https://knox.villagesoup.com/p/tilla-brings-empathy-to-the-fore-at-local-middle-school/1741652 De-escalating a frustrated student. Helping a child with autism communicate and interact. Providing a simple hug when life's stresses get too difficult. These are things one might expect to see in a counselor's office. However, for students and staff at one local middle school, it is taking place in the hallways and classrooms, thanks to the presence of a therapy dog. Tilla, an 18-month-old border collie-poodle cross, was bred to do exactly what she is doing -- provide social and emotional stability at Medomak Middle School. Principal Katherine Race has been bringing her four-legged companion to the school full-time since November. This is the second therapy dog Race has had interacting with her staff and students. Last year, Finnegan took his turn on Fridays. … "Our kids are at such risk these days, and she provides comfort to them on a daily basis," Race said. "There has been a drastic change in our culture." … Whether the kids are feeling down, having a positive day or are in crisis mode, Tilla is always around to help de-escalate the situation when needed. … Kelly Steppe, a special education teacher, said the incidence of behavior problems has decreased dramatically. … "She [Tilla] makes whole classrooms calm," Steppe said. …