Power to the pooch: Akron school enlists therapy dog to boost learning

Updated: Feb. 5, 2018 at 6:35 PM EST
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AKRON, OH (WOIO) - A local Catholic school say's it's embracing the power of the pooch.

Sydney, a special therapy dog, is the newest addition to Akron's Julie Billiart School.

"She comes to school everyday to help with the kids," said teacher Gabrielle Redovian.

The 2-year-old miniature "Labradoodle" is making a big difference.

"Right before Thanksgiving we got her. She's only been here a few months," said Redovian.

Sydney's not your average Labradoodle, the pooch also acts as a therapy dog to students with special needs.

"Sydney has multiple jobs when she's here at school. She will sit and work with a student who might be struggling while reading," said Redovian.

"She is used as a motivator. Students can earn time with her while walking her in the hallway," said Redovian.

However, it seems Sydney's strongest relationship is with Greyson, a Kindergarten student with limited verbal skills.

"She helps him when he gives her commands. So with that, he's working on his expressive language," said Redovian.

The four legged fur ball is just one tool this Catholic school uses to innovate new learning methods and techniques in the classroom.

"Sydney can just provide even that basic comfort while a student is reading or in occupational therapy," she said.

Most of all, she provides the warmth and joy that comes with being man's best friend.

Julie Billiart School officials are also exploring the options of adding another therapy dog to the program.

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