Cello has done MUCH better at my school (Kindergarten – special needs) than I had expected!!  I am very strict with him and the boundaries are clear. I also started using a mat under my desk and then a kennel for during eating times (snacks and lunch) as he does hoover food. Cello has been excellent at recall and at the off leash park. He can get quite excited and sometimes the other dogs need to remind him of his manners. Two children in my Kindergarten class have learned how to be gentle and/or enjoy being around dogs over the past month!! They are both non verbal kiddos, one of them has autism and has never had any interest in animals or dogs. He has slowly become more comfortable with Cello just being in the classroom with him and the other day he went up and kissed Cello’s back!!! Another child has always had aggression issues so to work on his aggression,  I made the rule that no kids could touch Cello or go near him. After 3 weeks, the little boy wanted to touch Cello so I monitored this. It went so well! Cello was extremely patient and they ended up cuddling, laying together and spending twenty minutes together!! It was AMAZING!!  It is incredible to see a dog that is usually anxious and unsure be so calm and patient with my students and to bring this little boy to the point where he can now hug Cello and go visit him when he needs to regulate or is feeling overwhelmed, etc. Awesome – it’s that special something in a dog you don’t always see!!  The photos are of Cello at our family’s annual volunteer event, organizing jackets for a Jacket Racket in the community. Cello was the star of Piper’s school presentation where he was in front of over one hundred grade eight students in one room. He was there for three hours and was amazing!

 

Submitted By: Dana and Jay Stephenson

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