Special to the PRESS
There’s comfort in feeling secure, warm and cozy. And this is certainly true when reading. As students in any subject one learns and retains information as it is presented. Derry Elementary has a unique “visiting” teacher that assists students become better readers. This visiting teacher is named Johnny, a Rough Collie, who has helped make learning fun and meaningful.
Johnny, began coming to the school with his owner/handler Nicole Gallegos, PIISD’s Director for Child Nutrition three months ago and has become beloved by those he serves. Johnny was first a show dog and was adopted by Gallegos three years ago.
The reading dog in actuality is a service dog which must be certified as a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) before it can go through the Delta Pet Partners program which then certifies the therapy/service dogs. The Delta Pet Partners website states that: “At the heart of all of Pet Partners’ programs is a research foundation which demonstrates that when animals are around, people’s blood pressure goes down, stress and anxiety levels are reduced, people feel less lonely and less depressed, and they tend to be more social and community oriented.“
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