Therapy Dogs Instilling a New Breed of Confidence
KREX News Room
MONTROSE, Colo. The Morningstar Therapy Dogs are a group of canines dedicated to improving the lives of humans. They've been introduced to four schools in Montrose, and are improving progress in the classroom. There are over a dozen on the team and already five more looking to join the fleet in 2013.
Winston, Chance, and Sophie are just a few of the therapy dogs impacting the lives of children.
Ann Furgurson, a teacher at Oak Grove Elementary, said, "Canine-human connection is incredible, and I think they can, can get children to open up and feel better when a person can't."
Eleven-year-old Jedira Garcia, said, "I've been reading to the dogs for about three years. They listen to me and they can actually understand me!"
"If they read their books all week then on Friday they get to pick a book they've been practicing they get to read it one-on-one with the dog," Furgurson said.
The therapy dogs give students more confidence to read.
"We have children who really don't talk, or don't talk very much they're so shy. And you know, they aren't shy to talk to a dog," said Furgurson.
Hannah Jackson, the youngest therapy dog owner in the group, said, "He was just looking at the dog and didn't think I was there. He was just happy to be reading to someone that wouldn't judge him."
After introducing them in her classroom, Furgurson has seen exactly what these dogs are capable of, "When I started this program I had about five percent of my children reading their books and bringing them back on time. Now, with the help of the dogs, I have about 98 percent."
"They're… they're fantastic," Garcia said.
They can also help students cope during difficult times.
"I've worked with children with emotional problems and the dog will sit right down and after a little while they're calm and they felt much better," Furgurson said.
While they may not realize it, these dogs are changing lives, allowing kids to discover confidence they may have never known they had. Furgurson hopes to expand the number of schools they visit and kids they help this year.
For more information on Morningstar Therapy Dogs, call Furgurson at (970) 252-1258.