Therapy Dog Helps with Learning Disabilities

Therapy Dog Helps with Learning Disabilities

Every dog has a high calling. Sometimes years of training are put into a dog intended for doing service work but end up not having the temperament for that. As a volunteer for a service dog organization, I worked with this dog, Seillo, from the time she was 8 weeks until she reached 12 months. The organization determined she wasn’t a good fit for service work. Not a failure, it just wasn’t what she was born to do. She and I went on to become a therapy team at an elementary school in the Special Education department.

In Seillo’s role as a therapy dog, she reached kids in ways that teachers couldn’t. I remember one student in particular had severe Aspergers. Her teachers were able to motivate her by promising time with the dog. She worked hard to earn it. Often she would come to us with tears streaming and shaking from a frustration meltdown. She would wrap her arms around Seillo, stroke her, and soon all her tension would melt away. She was able to return to class changed.

Another child had a speech impediment. He was reluctant to read out loud because he didn’t want to be made fun of. However, he was willing to read to Seillo. He often showed her pictures in the book, forgetting she was a dog. Magic.

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