Everyone's Best Friend
It's a typical morning at Thorpe Gordon Elementary School. Kids get off the bus, walk into school, and gather for morning assembly, where the school's newest staff member greets them.
Dilly is a therapy dog who works with the school's counselor Joyce Beard." I tell the kids, she was trained just to love kids That's her job, is just to love and take care of kids, "said Beard.
For some kids, that love makes the difference."She's very good at being able to draw a student out of a situation that normally an adult might not be able to have that communication with them," said Thorpe Gordon's Elementary School principal, Suzanne Wilson.
Dilly arrived at Thorpe Gordon for the start of the school year in August. But she's not the only canine counselor in the Jefferson City Public School District.
Miranda Cantrell is South Elementary's counselor and Carvey is her canine partner. "I'm learning to rely on him as well to help me out with the kids."
And it is a team effort. Beard said, "She's kind of like my partner and I've been able to reach kids so much easier."
Joyce and Miranda got their dogs this summer after waiting just six short months and going through a week of training in Concordia, Kansas. Dilly and Carvey came from CARES, inc. (Canine Assistance Rehabilitation Education Services). CARES usually provides golden retrievers, black and yellow labs, and german shepherds for professional therapy work. It opened in 1994 and since then has placed more than 650 dogs in 33 states and three foreign countries.
The puppies have to prove they can get along with people before going through the training program and getting placed with counselors. But Dilly and Carvey were not free. They each cost 500 dollars. This is money Joyce and Miranda paid out of pocket, with the help of donations.
But that means the pups aren't just partners, but also pets." I love animals and I love dogs so it's really been fun having her with me,"said Beard.
Since Dilly and Carvey are still so new, the schools are still learning new ways to use them."We'd like to see her not only work on the social/emotional side but to help with some of their academic motivation,"explained Beard. But until then,"She can come up wiggling her tail at you and just the unconditional love she shares with everyone has made everybody happy."
Turns out whoever said a dog is a man's best friend got it a little wrong. At Thorpe Gordon and South Elementary Schools, these two dogs are everyone's best friend.