BURLINGTON – Burlington High School’s newest member of staff is a little different from the rest with four legs and full fur. Therapy dog â€‹â€‹Tryg’s first day at work was Wednesday, but he’s been doing an internship at the school since last year.
Troy Everson, Tryg’s owner and science teacher at the school, said after having the opportunity to interact with a therapy dog â€‹â€‹he thought it would be a great thing to help students out in the classroom. And Tryg’s arrival at school couldn’t be more perfectly timed to end a challenging year for so many.
“With everything that happens in our world, with everything that changes, students would be very scared of school. They weren’t sure what was going to happen,” Everson said. â€œWe just want every student to have a sense of calm in the chaos of the world. It doesn’t matter if it’s an adult he connects with, if it’s a group of friends he connects with, or if it’s our therapy dog. “
There isn’t a comprehensive list of Wisconsin school districts with therapy dogs, but it is certainly a rarity.
School psychologist Allison Tenhagen said Tryg is especially helpful for students dealing with anxious feelings.
“A lot of high school students struggle with anxiety and having it there naturally calms them and then they can just process what they have to work through with the adults here at school,” Tenhagen said called.
But Tryg doesn’t just help students with mental health. He can also help them excel on their schoolwork.
“He greeted all AP students and wished them the best on their exams,” said Everson. â€œHe works with students who have difficulty reading. We have found that students prefer to read to an animal that they will not judge at all. “
And even students who don’t have a major exam or other life stress to deal with, Tryg has already proven to be a good friend.
â€œTryg doesn’t care where you’re from. He doesn’t care if you have new school clothes or if you don’t have new school clothes this year. He’s the most unprejudiced employee we have at Burlington High School. “
And although Tryg doesn’t get a salary for his incredible work, he is compensated with love, affection and lots of goodies.
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