Ther­apy dog helps with stress of exam days at Gen­try High School

Westside Eagle-Observer - - NEWS AND EVENTS - KRISTA CARR Gen­try High School English Teacher

GEN­TRY — Fi­nals week is tra­di­tion­ally a very stress­ful time for high school stu­dents, and stu­dents at Gen­try High School are no dif­fer­ent. In an ef­fort to help al­le­vi­ate some of the stresses of se­mes­ter ex­ams, GHS li­brar­ian, Al­li­son Blan­chard, and her bor­der col­lie-Aus­tralian shep­herd mix, Laramie, teamed up to bring some re­lief to staff and stu­dents alike.

Laramie earned her ther­apy dog cer­ti­fi­ca­tion through Al­liance of Ther­apy Dogs. She and Blan­chard are a cer­ti­fied ther­apy dog team and are qual­i­fied to visit schools, li­braries, nurs­ing homes, hos­pi­tals and most places where some­one might need com­fort from a furry com­pan­ion.

Blan­chard be­came in­ter­ested in be­com­ing a ther­apy dog han­dler af­ter work­ing at a job that had a res­i­dent ther­apy dog team.

“It just brought so much peace and calm to the en­vi­ron­ment,” she said. “I had to be a part of it!”

The Blan­chard team be­came cer­ti­fied af­ter ap­prox­i­mately eight weeks of in­ten­sive obe­di­ence and de­meanor train­ing.

Stu­dents and staff alike have en­joyed hav­ing a new friendly face in the li­brary. While stu­dents are a con­stant pres­ence in the li­brary at GHS, there were more than usual lov­ing on Laramie. Staff mem­bers were also com­monly found in the li­brary between ex­ams and dur­ing lunch.

The over­all en­vi­ron­ment has been dras­ti­cally dif­fer­ent than other exam weeks. Laramie has en­joyed her time at the high school and will be­come a more fre­quent vis­i­tor in the com­ing months. Staff mem­bers are proud to call Laramie a Pi­o­neer, too.

West­side Ea­gle Ob­server/LON­NIE MOLL

Lil­lian Wright sits with Laramie, a bor­der col­lie and Aus­tralian shep­herd mix ther­apy dog, in the Li­brary at Gen­try High School on Thurs­day, Dec. 20. Laramie was brought to the school by her han­dler, Al­li­son Blan­chard, to help re­lieve stress for stu­dents and staff dur­ing exam week.

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