Sunday, 23 February 2014

What It's Like to Have a Therapy Dog in Our Classroom

In the past couple of months, we've been really lucky to have Nancy and Merlin come into our classroom. They're an amazing team who work with Therapeutic Paws of Canada. Nancy is Merlin's owner and Merlin is the kindest, sweetest, most incredible dog I've ever met. 
After hearing about a therapy dog from a class that Tiiu's class did a Mystery Skype with, we did some online research to see if there were therapy dogs in Ottawa. That's how we found TPoC and Merlin and Nancy. 
Things can get pretty stressful in a classroom, and when students come to school already feeling worried or anxious, it can be really difficult to focus and to learn. Merlin's influence in our room is amazing. He keeps everyone calm, focused and brings a smile to everyone's faces.
Nancy and Merlin come to visit us at least once a month and we all get to say hello to our canine buddy, as he licks us all hello, wags his tail and presses the "pet me more button". 
One by one, each student takes some time to cuddle up to Merlin and read to him. He's an excellent listener! I love when the students select a picture book and make sure to show Merlin the pictures!
 Sometimes at the end of his visit, Merlin shows us some of his hilarious tricks, he's an amazingly well trained dog! By the end of his hour, Merlin is usually smooched out, but during his last visit, he still gave some of the Rainbow Eggheads one last lick!

If you want to see a photo of one of Merlin's tricks, check out the article about him and Nancy from the Algonquin newspaper.
We are so lucky to have Nancy and Merlin come visit us.
Nancy and Merlin do a lot of great work. They were featured in the Ottawa Citizen in December when they went to visit college students and give them a mood boost.

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