Jackson-Milton students meet four-legged-staff member - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Jackson-Milton students meet four-legged-staff member

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NORTH JACKSON, Ohio - He's as active as most of the students he'll be working with, but unlike his soon-to-be classmates at Jackson-Milton Elementary School, Asher gets around on four legs instead of two.

"I think he is going to bring so much joy to so many kids that it's just overwhelming to be that this is really happening," said Jackson-Milton Elementary School guidance counselor Christine Ginnis.

About a year ago, guidance counselor Christina Ginnis bought Asher with the hope of training him to become a certified therapy dog.  After researching the idea, school administrators jumped on board and raised money to have Asher certified at the Learning Dog in Hubbard.  The furry four-legged Goldendoodle, who was introduced to students and staff during an assembly Tuesday morning, will start at Jackson-Milton Elementary School next fall. Although, it won't be his first time in school.

"He took classes at The Learning Dog multiple classes, not just therapy class.   He took multiple obedience classes starting from puppy kindergarten all the way up to advanced obedience and he took a tricks and games class, learning how to walk on a leash class.   So, probably three classes a week for an hour each class for the last six months.   So, a lot of training and practicing at home.   It's been a full time job.   It really has and he is going to continue classes all throughout the summer, but I think it's worth it," said Ginnis.

When school begins, Asher will attend three days a week.  He'll make visits to different classrooms for reading activities.  He will also be written into some students' education plans, providing incentive to help them reach their goals.

"We have a lot of children right now on the spectrum that sometimes human contact isn't enough and I think that just him being a friend to those children will have a calming effect on the children and I'm sure on the staff members also," said Jackson-Milton Elementary principal Joe DiLoreto.
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