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Classroom dog is helping special needs children at Campbell Elementary

Campbell Elementary School is using a new tool inside the classroom, and this one has four legs.

Special Education Teacher Bob Fick got Foster as a classroom pet just last Tuesday. The dog came from Canine Companions for Independence.

He has been waiting for 10 years to bring a pet into his classroom.

Fick had to go through a week training course in Columbus to learn all about his new dog. Canine Companions for Independence raises private funds for its animals.

Fick is now responsible for Foster. Foster goes home with Fick, and he pays for the dog’s expenses. But Fick says it’s worth it for his students.

“He has adjusted to the students. They’ve really responded to him,” Fick said. “I think over the course of his 10 to 12 years of working in the school, he’s going to do wonderful things. The students are going to grow socially and academically.”

Foster has only been in the class for a week, but changes in the students have already been noticed. Sometimes students don’t want to take part in classroom reading, but they have no problem reading to Foster.

“He’s a good model for appropriate behavior. The students see Foster sitting when I ask him to sit. They see him lay when I ask him to lay down. Foster knows 42 commands, so when they see Foster following the commands, I’ve noticed they are more apt to follow what we are asking them to do,” says Fick.

There are also some non-verbal students in Fick’s class, and they’ve already made a close connection to their classroom pet. Foster also teaches his students all about the responsibilities it takes to have a dog.

Fick has plans to share Foster with the entire Campbell Elementary School, so the dog can influence every student.

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