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Salt Lake County teacher hoping to bring therapy dog into her classroom

Fox 13 News

A Salt Lake County teacher is hoping to bring in a new teacher’s assistant to her classroom but rather than it be human, she wants it to be a therapy dog.

Whitney Stewart, a middle school teacher in Salt Lake County, had her dog, Dekker, professionally-trained over the summer to become an official therapy dog. Stewart says that Dekker has a natural temperament that can help with the emotional and educational needs of her students.

According to Stewart, there are a lot of immigrant and refugee families as well as families living below the poverty line throughout the district that deal with trauma and difficulties that a therapy dog could help with.

Therapy dogs often accompany children who are learning to read, a task that can be quite challenging. The presence of the dog helps relieve some of the pressure that the child might be feeling as the dog serves as a non-judgemental audience that the child can read to, according to Stewart.

At this point, Dekker is still required to pass a certification test and must receive district approval before he can be allowed in the classroom. Fortunately for Stewart, Dekker will take his certification test later this month.

Despite there still being much work to do before Dekker can join the classroom atmosphere, Stewart is confident that her dog will help her students in the long-run.

Jared Gereau is pursuing a Journalism major with an emphasis in Social Media at Utah State University. He is planning on using his experience to pursue a career with USU Athletics sometime after he graduates. In his free time, Jared enjoys watching movies, playing games and creating content for his YouTube channel.