Dyersburg students train rescues to become therapy dogs

DYERSBURG, Tenn. –Middle and high school students at the alternative school in Dyersburg are making furry friends in class.

“We have students that have had situations out of the school that come in and aren’t comfortable, something’s going on. The dog kind of relaxes them,” College Street Campus Principal Lyn Taylor said.

The bonding and training program allows students and staff to train rescue dogs to be therapy animals. Students learn how to train and care for the dogs.

“Interacting with the dogs, it’s really helpful for most people who are in the alternative school because it gives them a way to focus on something other than what they did,” said Jarred Jones, an eleventh grader at Dyer County High School.

Jones works with all four of the therapy dogs currently in the program at the College Street Campus.

“It helps me keep my mind off of what I’ve done, and it helps me keep a clear thought of what’s going on, and it helps me really think, because I do want to help people,” Jones said.

Jones encourages people to bring in dogs they want trained so more people can get help and students can get the benefits of interacting with a dog.

“Before entering the bonding and training program, every dog has to go through some testing first,” Taylor said.

The testing helps the schools decide if the dog is the right fit.

“With the American Alliance, we have to follow protocol,” Taylor said. “We have to be able to do 10 different things with the dogs where they don’t interact unless they’re asked to.”

Three classes at the College Street Campus take care of the training.

There are currently eight working therapy dogs in Dyersburg City Schools.

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