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Acequia Elementary uses therapy dogs to bring comfort and joy to students

Published: Sep. 27, 2020 at 9:59 AM MDT
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RUPERT, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - Acequia Elementary School in Rupert has two Goldendoodle’s welcome the children as they walk through the door. Lulu and Bruno are therapy dogs in training.

From reading with the students, to playing outside at recess, to being a comforting presence, Goldendoodle’s Lulu and Bruno add a lot of love and happiness to Acequia Elementary School.

“You’ll find Lulu outside at recess time, you’ll see her wandering the halls, always with me, and you’ll see her in classrooms with kids reading to her, so she’s just really truly become our mascot at Acequia Elementary,” said principal Heather Hepworth.

Principal Heather Hepworth is Lulu’s handler, and Teacher Kailee Hansen is Bruno’s handler.

“It’s so fun having both dogs here, they would love to sit and play with each other all day but we keep them separated all day, but they do the same type of work,” said Hepworth.

The dogs give the students and staff support without ever having to say a word.

“You know I just think at least at the Elementary level, funding is so hard when it comes to the counseling, I wish we had a full time counselor here at school, but so often not I would tell you we do. I mean you know she might not talk, but she does bring so much support to kids, and sometimes it takes a little bit of time with Lulu, they are calmed down, they are ready to talk, we can problem solve together and then they head back to class,” said Hepworth.

Both Lulu and Bruno are about 2 years old and still in training to be certified therapy dogs for the school.

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