OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Hefner Middle School has a new therapy dog, and so far, it’s had quite the ‘paws-itive’ impact.
“She’s the little local celebrity walking the halls,” said A.J. Graffeo, of Putnam City Schools.
Amber is a puggle, a pug and beagle mix.
Since October, she’s been working as Hefner Middle School’s therapy dog every Wednesday.
This Wednesday, KFOR got to see Amber make her rounds through a classroom with her owner and Hefner Middle School Teacher, Heather Elias.
“She goes around to classrooms with me and then when it is passing time or I’m on plan, then she is more visible in the building,” said Elias.
Over the summer, Putnam City Schools Board of Education amended the district’s policy about service animals and therapy dogs, making all of this possible.
“Amber helps with just emotional support, anxiety, things like that and then just the overall culture of the school,” said Graffeo.
So far, it’s worked. The district said numerous students have posted in Mrs. Elias’s Google classroom, expressing their love for Amber.
“School can be stressful. School can sometimes not be the most positive place we’d like it to be… So, having a bright spot in their day makes them happy,” said Elias. “[Dogs] will lower your blood pressure. It releases positive endorphins, makes you smile, makes you happy. So, she’s just kind of the feel-good dog.”