Wauseon School District and Oakley
School therapy dogs are utilized to support students through innovative and creative ways. Wauseon School District welcomed Kramer, Assistance Dogs as their school therapy dog. After Kramer retired, district staff realized they had discovered an effective approach to education that needed to continue. School counselors decided to continue their journey with ADAI. In spring of 2018, Wauseon School District welcomed Oakley into their halls and hearts.
A true team effort, Theresa Veitmeier, Wauseon Elementary School Principal, and Jessica Gerig, school counselor, and Joe Friess, Wauseon High School Principal, are the handlers for Oakley.
Therapy dogs often stimulate memory and problem-solving skills for the students they encounter daily. Oakley’s handlers feel the impact, “We have seen first-hand the difference a dog’s presence has in a school building. The children are happier and have something to look forward to. Oakley continues the work that Kramer started; assisting with speech therapy, as a reward for students meeting behavioral and academic goals, as a calming influence with students who have experienced trauma, and assisting with students during reading time.
Already our “working girl” has had a terrific impact and the kids are over the moon. We are so grateful and excited for this adventure with Oakley in our school and we want to express our appreciation to her trainers and fosters for the support we have received.”
The district has a "Growth Mindset" development theme and has begun incorporating Oakley in programming and the impact is significant. Students are more interested, focused, and responsive.
Theresa shares, “We are creating a bulletin board with a "Mighty Oak" theme where we have an interactive bulletin board where students will be highlighted for using their "Oakley Optimism." The tree will be filled with leaves showcasing student awards feature photos of the "Mighty Oak!”
Oakley even joins the team to recognize students who go above and beyond in the classroom and community. She carries baskets containing special treats and awards students as a “thank you” for setting a great example to other students.
Oakley was obtained from Leader Dogs, furloughed by Laura Pelwicki and trained at Toledo Correctional Institution by Terry H.
Wauseon and Oakley’s partnership was supported by the Baumker Grant.