Centerville ISD bringing therapy dogs to campus this year

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CENTERVILLE, Tex. (KBTX) - A new pet therapy program is starting this school year at Centerville campuses.

Teachers and students are also fostering some of the pets which are being specially trained to be service animals or therapy dogs. Pepper is just one of several specially trained dogs on the campuses.

"I felt sad. My sister left this morning back to Temple college," said student Addi Hamilton. "Happy" was how the six-year-old said she felt after spending time with Pepper.

The dogs also work with kids with special needs and those in typical classrooms.

"Kids go through a lot of stress and mental health is so important at this day and age because they are faced with so many difficulties through their childhood," said Centerville High School Principal Claudia Mordecai.

“Our dogs come on our high school campus daily and we do have a dog housed in our counselors office and the kids can sign up for dog time," said Mordecai.

The school district says it's a win-win for them. It gives animals like Lollie a chance to interact with people as they work to become service or therapy animals. For the kids, it's something for them to get really excited about.

"She's kind of like the equivalent of like showing an animal for me," said Centerville High School Senior Delaney Wood.

"I'm just fostering her so next year she'll go to another district who needs her," she added.

For Wood, this is her first time to foster a therapy dog. Her dog Iggy will be on campus every day.

"I think it’s so amazing how the fact that these dogs can stop so much in the classroom like bullying," she said.

Several of the dogs are Golden Retriever's and part of a group called Golden Rule Retrievers. Some of the teachers are also fostering the therapy and service dogs.