School’s therapy dog helps students transition back to school
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School’s therapy dog helps students transition back to school

Staff at Melican Middle School in Northborough are getting back on their feet ready to welcome students for the first day.Betty, the school’s therapy dog, is also ready.“She’s really a big part of what we do here,” said Principal Michelle Karb.Karb owns and trains Betty.“My two passions are dogs and middle school students,” Karb said.Karb has been working with therapy dogs since 2013 and eventually introduced them to her school environment.“Dogs and kids naturally, sort of, go together. Theres’ a lot of research that supports the bond between humans and animals,” Karb said.Betty isn’t the only therapy dog in the district. Nearly half of the schools have their own dog. Betty provides a number of different services and benefits to daily school life.“She comes three days a week — sometimes four. She spends some time in the office,” Karb said. “She’s run the mile with kids who are too anxious to run the mile out back. She will run with them.”This year Betty has an even more important role as students transition back to in-person learning — many for the first time in more than a year.“This year, in particular, we are going to be focusing on the social emotional learning of our students. We always do, but we know there is an even greater need now,” Karb said.Karb worked with Brightspot Therapy Dogs in Northampton. She loved them so much that she is now a trainer and assistant executive director.

Staff at Melican Middle School in Northborough are getting back on their feet ready to welcome students for the first day.

Betty, the school’s therapy dog, is also ready.

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“She’s really a big part of what we do here,” said Principal Michelle Karb.

Karb owns and trains Betty.

“My two passions are dogs and middle school students,” Karb said.

Karb has been working with therapy dogs since 2013 and eventually introduced them to her school environment.

“Dogs and kids naturally, sort of, go together. Theres’ a lot of research that supports the bond between humans and animals,” Karb said.

Betty isn’t the only therapy dog in the district. Nearly half of the schools have their own dog.

Betty provides a number of different services and benefits to daily school life.

“She comes three days a week — sometimes four. She spends some time in the office,” Karb said. “She’s run the mile with kids who are too anxious to run the mile out back. She will run with them.”

This year Betty has an even more important role as students transition back to in-person learning — many for the first time in more than a year.

“This year, in particular, we are going to be focusing on the social emotional learning of our students. We always do, but we know there is an even greater need now,” Karb said.

Karb worked with Brightspot Therapy Dogs in Northampton. She loved them so much that she is now a trainer and assistant executive director.

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