Little dog, big impact; GICC brings on a therapy dog

Published: Aug. 18, 2020 at 7:51 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - As students pour back into the classroom all across the state, Grand Island Central Catholic has brought on a new tiny staff member that’s making a huge difference.

The 17-month-old therapy dog is named Shire and is the personal dog of new GICC teacher, Mrs. Dawnell Glunz.

"I spoke with Mr. Engle and said hey I happen to know you had a really rough year, I happen to have a therapy dog," Glunz said. "He said bring him in and [Tuesday] was his first day of school."

GICC Principal Jordan Engle said he was very excited to bring shire on board.

"No hesitation from me whatsoever," Engle told Local4 News. "I think it's a great thing and we're just excited to have him."

The school brought in therapy dogs last year and Engle said he saw first hand how great it was for his students.

"We lost a student and the day we came back to school and we were able to have four therapy dogs," Engle said. "The healing that those dogs brought to our student body, I think it was probably if not the largest, definitely one of the top three things that helped us get through that time as a school. Our students know the great affect that therapy dogs can have."

With all of the changes this year has brought and the stress of the pandemic, the hope is that shire can make it a little easier for their students.

“There’s a ton of research that spending time with a companion animal, therapy dog included, your heart rate goes down, your focus goes up and your blood pressure lowers,” Glunz said. “Those are all academic benefits as well as emotional benefits.”

Shire will spend most of his time in Glunz’s classroom, but will be available to any student who may need to spend some time with him.

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