BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The first day of school at the Charter School for Applied Technologies is just over a week away, and this year, the students will meet a very special new staff member.
Lucy the therapy dog is reporting for duty, and it’s clear the Golden Retriever mix is excited about her new job.
“She loves people and loves to be around kids and she soaks up every minute that she can when she’s with our students,” said Sarah Rohde, Lucy’s handler and the director of the Family Support Center at CSAT.
Lucy, who even has her own staff ID badge, recently became a Certified Therapy Dog through Paws for Love with the SPCA serving Erie County, and she got right to work with the CSAT students.
“She came into our summer school program that we have our school for our kindergarten and first grade students, and we read a story to the classrooms,” Rohde said. “She slept, and she got lots of snuggles and pets, and she was great.”
Lucy is always a good girl, and she has a good role model at CSAT.
Gus, a Chocolate Lab, has been a therapy dog at CSAT for three years, and he makes a big difference for staff and students alike.
“Gus works with students who have expressive speech issues. Students read to him. He does programs where he calms students down who are having a rough day. We use him as a tier one intervention service for an entire classroom,” said Gus’ handler and CSAT music teacher Mark Struckmann.
“He makes students feel at home and relaxed,” he added.
Gus went through a lot of training for his job as a therapy dog, and it’s a job he’s happy to do.
“He loves it here,” Struckmann said. “As soon as I get dressed and put on my ID tag, he knows where we’re going. He loves it here.”
And the whole CSAT family loves their therapy dogs.
It takes a special animal to be the right fit.
“They need to be friendly, calm. They need to enjoy being pet,” Rohde said. “They need to have a welcoming attitude and just be excited, and kind of go with the flow.”
School starts August 26 at CSAT, but Lucy doesn’t seem to have any pre-school year worries. After all, her job is to take away the worry from others.
Lucy and Gus were both working at CSAT this week, helping the new teachers settle in during New Teacher Orientation.