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Luxemburg-Casco Schools seeing impacts of having therapy dog on staff

Elsie, the Luxemburg-Casco School District's therapy dog poses with third graders at the intermediate school.
Elsie, the Luxemburg-Casco School District's therapy dog poses with third graders at the intermediate school.(WBAY)
Published: Feb. 13, 2020 at 10:25 PM CST
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Numerous studies have shown dogs are effective in helping relieve anxiety and stress and have often been brought into schools during times of crisis.

At the Luxemburg-Casco School District, there’s a therapy dog on staff. Her name is Elsie. She’s a 2-year-old mini golden doodle, and she's been with the district since May of 2018.

“We've had an unusual number of deaths in the district this year, whether its parents or students or relatives; and she has been part of that whole process. When our crisis team has come together she's in there with us,” said Jolene Hussong, principal of Luxemburg-Casco Intermediate School.

Hussong went through all the training with Elsie to be a therapy dog.

Since doing so, the staff at Luxemburg-Casco are seeing the impacts of having a therapy dog on hand.

“When I'm feeling stressed about things, she helps me feel less stressed, like maybe if I'm having a test or something,” said Macey Mingori, a fifth-grader.

“We often use her as a reward. So, let's say I'm a student that has some behavioral issues, they have a point sheet and they're motivated to get a certain number of points because that earns them time with Elsie,” said Hussong.

Elsie has gone to other schools within the district when needed and as teachers and students get to know her, the more time they want to spend with her.

“Almost every classroom has said they would like her to come in for a 2-3 hour time frame where she's just in that classroom, where she free roams and supports the kids,” said Hussong.

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