Remedy canine brings smiles to Las Vegas highschool


On his manner down a hallway at Sierra Vista Excessive College, Dood the canine stopped at an open door resulting in a culinary class — presumably, smelling one thing he needed — and peered inside.

“Not culinary, buddy,” Principal Jessica Lovell advised him.

The two-year-old goldendoodle trotted again into the hallway and continued on to their vacation spot: the varsity’s “Zen Den” wellness room.

It’s the second faculty 12 months that Dood has been the remedy canine at Sierra Vista in southwest Las Vegas. He helps present an outlet for college kids to fight their nervousness — notably, following the COVID-19 pandemic and distance studying.

Lovell, who was a instructor and faculty counselor at a handful of Clark County College District campuses earlier than turning into a faculty administrator, mentioned she purchased Dood as a pet particularly to be a remedy canine.

“I knew I needed him to work with the children in faculties,” she mentioned.

Dood doesn’t have an official certification, however he went by means of an intensive four-week “inpatient” coaching to arrange, mentioned Lovell, who’s his guardian.

‘Takes away all my issues’

When she was an assistant principal at Palo Verde Excessive College in northwest Las Vegas, Lovell was desirous about the affect of the pandemic on college students.

“Even earlier than the pandemic, I observed an increase in nervousness,” she mentioned.

Lovell mentioned college students who’ve skilled trauma didn’t know the way to deal with it, and the pandemic made issues worse.

She has a niece on the non-public Religion Lutheran Center College &Excessive College, which has a remedy canine named Esther, and it bought her desirous about that possibility for Sierra Vista.

Typically, college students can’t verbalize how they’re feeling, and having one thing else to concentrate on may also help deliver these emotions out, Lovell mentioned, in addition to present a way of calm and assist with gaining coping methods.

Sierra Vista junior Roman Dobos, 17, mentioned he first met Dood whereas the remedy canine was strolling round campus. Dood sniffed his hand and began licking it.

“Once I’m actually wired, I come and pet him, and it helps me out quite a bit,” Roman mentioned.

He later added: “He simply takes away all my issues.”

A part of the varsity neighborhood

It’s uncommon for Clark County College District campuses to have a remedy canine, however the variety of faculties with one is rising, Lovell mentioned. A spokesperson mentioned the district doesn’t preserve observe of the variety of faculties with remedy canines.

Lovell began bringing Dood to principal conferences along with her final faculty 12 months and has obtained a number of questions on how having a remedy canine works at Sierra Vista.

It’s a number of work, she mentioned, noting that the rewards far outweigh the hassle.

With a purpose to have a canine on campus, Lovell needed to acquire permission from a variety of sources, together with the varsity district’s threat administration division and a area superintendent.

She additionally notified Sierra Vista dad and mom — notably, as a heads-up for any college students who’re allergic to canines. Goldendoodles, although, are well-liked remedy canines as a result of along with their cheerful demeanor, they’re typically considered extra allergy-friendly than many different breeds.

Whereas on campus, Dood sports activities a custom-made scarf together with his title. He additionally wears a blue vest that features his faculty identification badge, a Sierra Vista patch and a “remedy canine” patch.

Dood is a part of the varsity neighborhood, Lovell mentioned. He seems on the varsity’s web site and within the yearbook. And he attends particular occasions equivalent to athletic video games, homecoming, promenade and commencement.

He additionally has helped Lovell in her position as principal.

One of many hardest points of being a faculty administrator is “children don’t need to speak to you,” Lovell mentioned. Now, college students acknowledge her as the woman who has a canine.

“Dood has actually helped me bridge the hole with a number of children,” she mentioned.

A typical day on campus

On a typical faculty day, Dood greets college students within the quad as they arrive earlier than courses start. In any case of that pleasure, he’s normally prepared for a nap on his canine mattress in Lovell’s workplace.

Then, they go to lecture rooms.

“He loves an open classroom door,” Lovell mentioned.

Dood continues on to lunch responsibility. His favourite day is when Elevating Cane’s is obtainable as a result of he can eat rooster that’s dropped on the bottom, Lovell mentioned.

At dismissal time, Dood mingles with college students and lecturers once more. And all through the varsity day, Lovell receives calls over Sierra Vista’s radio system that somebody wants Dood.

The favored canine additionally frequents the “Zen Den.”

The house has dim lighting and cozy seating equivalent to sofas and bean bag chairs. Chalkboards on one wall are lined with scholar drawings. Neon indicators show inspirational phrases: Dream. Consider. Obtain.

Roman — who has two cats at house, however no canines — sat on a settee on a latest Wednesday petting Dood, who rested his head on his lap.

“He’s drained, huh?” the scholar mentioned.

“It’s afternoon nap time,” Lovell replied.

Being the massive canine on campus might be tiring and overstimulating typically. When Dood wants a break, he curls up below Lovell’s desk.

It’s an indication he wants some relaxation earlier than he’s able to enterprise out once more on campus.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at [email protected] or 702-387-2921. Comply with @julieswootton on Twitter.

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