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Bothwell Middle School welcomes new therapy dog

Students and staff can say hello and pet the dog as a way to meet their social and emotional needs
Students and staff can say hello and pet the dog as a way to meet their social and emotional needs
Published: Feb. 11, 2022 at 3:55 PM EST
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - If anyone at Bothwell Middle School is having a “ruff” day, there is a new furry staff member to help.

This week, the school welcomed Ardyn, a Golden Labrador. He is the school’s first-ever full-time certified therapy dog.

“We’ve had therapy dogs in the building for different things that have happened when we felt the needs for dogs to come in for the students,” said Assistant Principal Marc Vanwelsenaers.

On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, Ardyn will be in the building for students to say hello and pet him. This comes as the pandemic and other factors build up stress levels for students.

“Looking at the social and emotional needs of the students that we have here,” Vanwelsenaers said, “we just thought we could start that program, just looking at all of the research and how much it can help the students.”

Whether he is in the halls or in classrooms, Ardyn knows how to spread positivity to the kids.

“If {only} you could see the smile that the students have just when they see him walk into the room,” Vanwelsenaers stated. “It’s been very positive with the students and the interactions he’s already had.”

Vanwelsenaers says the dog is around for all students and staff for big and small emotional reasons.

“Maybe a student just needs to come and pet the dog for a little bit,” he explained. “{They could be} a little bit anxious about whether it’s a math test or whatever, and they just kind of need that little puppy time to kind of calm them down a little bit.”

Ardyn will be at Bothwell four days a week for the rest of the year. The plan is to bring him back for the start of next year to give students and staff a sense of calm and relief.

The Bothwell administration says Ardyn has been certified as a therapy dog through “Therapy Dog International” and is “Canine Good Citizen Certified.”

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