Therapy dogs graduate from training & ready for work at Novi Public Schools

Posted at 7:02 AM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 09:17:33-04

(WXYZ) — It’s a proud moment for teachers and counselors at Novi Public Schools. A team of their therapy dogs has graduated from training at the Michigan Dog Training academy in Plymouth, and will now be ready to work with students.

Back in February, school workers began working as handlers with their dogs. They practiced twice a week for three months, and the dogs have been learning special commands including polite greetings to meet students. As a result of the training program, kids will now be able to read and write to their dogs.

One of the dogs in the program is even a rescue dog that’s made a tremendous improvement to learn new skills. A total of five dogs and their handlers can now work throughout the district.

“I’m just really excited about these dogs at the Novi Community School District being able to enhance the childrens lives.” says MDT Owner Michael Burkey.

He adds “A lot of kids didn’t get socialization during COVID, so the dogs will help bring them out of their shells to interact with each other, and also with the dogs.”

The next step in the program, is for 5 more dogs and handlers to join the initiative. The goal is for every single school in the district to have its own therapy dog and handler.