Building Better Schools: Anthony Wayne provides support through fur friends

Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 5:26 PM EST
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WHITEHOUSE, Ohio (WTVG) - When Anthony Wayne students are having trouble, they can now find support from some furry friends.

The school district now has several facility dogs to provide mental, emotional, and academic support.

The middle school has a three-year-old black Labrador named Astro and Whitehouse Primary has a five-year-old golden retriever named Luna.

Jennifer Atkinson Minni, Fallen Timbers Middle School counselor, said the dogs offer the students a break from what’s troubling them mentally.

“I would equate it to when you’re having a bad day how you might ask a family member ‘can just have a hug?’ that’s how the kids feel when they get to stop and pet him,” said Atkinson Minni.

Kate Bailin, a school counselor at Whitehouse Primary School, said Luna is a hot commodity during arrival and dismissal.

“I would say from arrival to dismissal she is on active duty. So in the morning, she’s out in the hallway with me greeting all the kids and they hustle in to see her, pet her and give her some love in the morning,” she said.

Bailin added that Luna also aids teachers with academics.

“Throughout the day she goes into different classrooms. We have a lot of teachers that use her as a reading buddy, where students can read to her throughout the day, and then we also have teachers who use her for academics. She [Luna] has puzzle toys and tricks that she can do, where she’ll pull two puzzles with numbers on them and students will have to add them,” Bailin said.

The dogs were trained by the Ability Center to recall commands. Both Bailin and Atkinson Minni said the fur friends are a wonderful addition to the district.

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