AVON, Ind—The dog days of summer may not be over just yet. But this school year is already in full swing.
One teacher’s pet at Pine Tree Elementary School in Avon is teaching lessons that extend far beyond any test or textbook ever could.
Sanders the therapy dog has been a staple in Mrs. Raider’s 4th class for the past ten years.
“He’s in several of our staff photos,” Mrs. Raider pointed out. “This was taken a while back. These kids are probably in high school now, but he’s all about it,” she added.
The four-legged friend originally though wasn’t supposed to be patrolling the halls.
“We started visiting hospitals and he hated it. It was boring to him,” she explained.
That’s when the 4th grade teacher got an idea and neither of them have looked back since.
“When the kids are here, he’s a whole different dog, his face lights up, his smile gets bigger, he knows his job here.”
Since then, students of all ages have had a tail-wagging and finger-licking companion all year long.
“He helps them get through the day,” said student Journi.
Many agree, sometimes a wet kiss or a pat on the head is all that is takes to help a student in need.
“I could hand a kid a Kleenex or I can send them my dog. I think the dog does a better job than the Kleenex,”
In some cases, Sanders has helped students struggling with PTSD and those who are dealing with separation anxiety
He even helped one student when she was suffering a seizure in class.