Lura M. Sharp Elementary Welcomes Therapy Dog as Potential Pilot Program for Oswego County Schools
A one-year-old English cream golden retriever named River is ready to brighten the day for Lura M. Sharp Elementary School students who need it most.
School Resource Officer Regan Roach, River’s owner, joined Oswego County Sheriff Don Hilton Friday morning in formally introducing the therapy dog to elementary students during the morning program in the auditorium.
“River has a nice, calming effect with the kids,” Roach said. “They respond to the dog when they’re upset and calm down almost immediately.”
The idea to utilize River as a therapy dog came to Roach after bringing the newborn puppy to visit District Superintendent Tom Jennings and Lura M. Sharp Elementary Principal Joelle Hendry. Not long after the visit, River began 10 months of training to be a therapy dog and occasionally came back to visit during school.
“It wouldn’t have happened without the superintendent and principal” he said. “It was definitely a group effort.”
Sheriff Hilton says he has seen the benefits River has had on elementary students in Pulaski and, eventually, would like to see more therapy dogs in schools.
“The report I’m getting is we have had children with emotional problems and, as soon as Officer Roach walks in with the dog, the focus changes from whatever is ailing them that day to the dog,” Hilton said. “We hope this serves as our pilot program and we can put it out to all the elementary schools, at least, in Oswego County.”