Fenton elementary school seeks help to bring therapy dog into classrooms

FENTON (WJRT) A new member is coming to the staff of State Road Elementary School, but he's going to look a little different from the other teachers.

Therapy dogs are becoming more common and now one of them could be heading to this Mid-Michigan school.

"I have been researching therapy dogs for the last couple years. It's been something that I have really wanted to bring into the building," said Principal Barry Tiemann. "I really dove into it this school year."

After the idea was approved by parents and staff members, now comes the hard part.

"It's a process and its expensive, so we're right at that initial point where we're seeking funding and donations from outside organizations -- and local businesses especially," he said.

While not every school has a therapy dog, trainers say they can make the world of difference in a classroom setting.

"The reading to Rover type stuff, to where the kids can read to the dogs, that has been huge with therapy dogs," said therapy dog trainer Lori Grigg.

Lori and Jack Grigg with Paradise Dog Training say therapy dogs are trained specifically to be able to handle situations they could find in a classroom.

"A regular dog doesn't really have a job that it has to specifically do, the therapy dog or comfort dogs, sometimes they're called, they really help people just in general," she said. "Just the whole atmosphere."

Tiemann said that, although he knows its expensive and a lot to take on, he wants to bring a therapy dog into his school and he also says he's willing to be its owner.

"It provides them that family pet safe comfortable animal that they might not have at home, but they can have it here at school," he says.

To donate, you can contact State Road Elementary School or visit them online.

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