SNN: Lowell therapy dog

Oct 29, 2019

Bruno, Lowell therapy dog
Credit School News Network

Lowell Area Schools students are getting to know the canine in their classrooms this school year. The dog is a furry friend there when students need him.

Even though he’s a newcomer to Cherry Creek Elementary, Bruno is already quite popular. He’s third grade teacher Brook Beaufait’s golden retriever.

For now, he is mostly planted in her classroom, where he curls up beneath students’ group tables as they work, and is on hand for petting during stressful assignments or emotional meltdowns. Principal Shelli Otten said he is also available to the larger student body on an as-needed basis.

The process Bruno joining the staff at the school was nearly a year in the making.

It included Bruno had to complete “canine good neighbor training” and earn certified therapy dog training from West Michigan Therapy Dogs. The school also got 100% buy-in from classroom parents; and floated the concept to the school’s 500 students in grades 2 to 5.

Students have already written letters to Pratt saying how Bruno has already helped them.

For Beaufait, it has reaffirmed how helpful Bruno is (in) giving some kids who have trouble socializing or verbalizing their feelings. And other teachers have been known to seek him out as well.

Bruno’s not alone in the West Michigan school dog gig.

North Rockford’s Middle School has Chillie the Labrador retriever, and Grandville’s South Elementary has CC the comfort dog.

For School News Network, I’m Bridie Bereza