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Michigan City Area Schools Grant Acceptance Fund Inc

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Community Stories

1 Story from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Dogs Changing Lives

I have volunteered with therapy dogs for 12 years. My team which currently consists of Maddie, a Great Pyrenees, Bugsy, a puggle, and Trillian, a terrier mix, works with the special needs program at Joy School. I consider every time we go to 'work' to be an inspiration but since I have to narrow it down I will focus on the early moments with my first canine partner Peanut, a pit bull mix.

When we first started I didn't know what to expect from the kids or my dog. I was nervous but Peanut seemed to know exactly what to do. With no formal training she walked into that classroom and won over even the most reluctant student. One young blind boy with autism was always loud and constantly in motion. The teacher brought him over to us and he became quiet. He sat still for a long time and the teacher commented that she had never seen him sit that calmly.

Peanut was a motivator for a little boy with cerebral palsy to learn to walk. He wanted to take the dog for a walk and his teacher wanted him to use his walker. If he wanted to walk Peanut he had to challenge himself to learn. By the time he started high school he was walking unaided.

Peanut's inspiration extended beyond the special needs classroom. She also helped to change people's opinions about pit bulls. Staff and students both commented on how they believed all pits were aggressive until they met Peanut.

I love what my dogs and I do with the kids. We change lives in so many ways. I am always working with the teachers to find new ways to incorporate the dogs into the curriculum. The teachers love having us but it's the reaction of the students when the dogs walk in that keeps me coming back.

Review from #MyGivingStory