Ember The Therapy Dog
October 1, 2020
There’s a new staff member walking the halls at Whitmer High School. Her name is Ember and she is a purebred black lab from the Assistance Canine Training Services in New Hampshire. Her assignment: to calm anxieties and spread cheer at the Toledo school.
“She was raised in a school so she is extremely familiar with the school environment,” says Katie Peters, an English teacher at Whitmer and Ember’s owner. “She is very receptive to people who need her. Often times she will go up to staff members and love on them and afterward the staff member will say ‘I’ve been having the worst week the worst luck,’ and Ember just has the intuition of knowing who needs her. “
Peters says it took close to two years to get a service dog for the school, and it took community support to finally purchase her.
Ember is intelligent and trained to do many different tasks around the school. Therapy dogs have proved to be helpful in school buildings, even more so with all the uncertainty and stress caused by the ongoing pandemic. Ember hasn’t had a chance to interact with students yet, but with in-person learning scheduled to resume on October 27th, she’s ready to get started.
“She has added so much joy to a building that’s been struggling to find it without students,” says Peters.
The two-year-old dog is already a beloved member of the staff. She even has her own mailbox … filled with treats, of course.
“I love Ember and I can’t wait to see how she reacts when the kids come here,” says counselor Seth Evearitt. “She makes the rest of us happy when she comes in.”