Jefferson Middle School Welcomes New Therapy Dog

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JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) – A new therapy dog will soon roam the halls of Jefferson Middle School in Jamestown. 

During a Jamestown Board of Education Meeting on Tuesday night, the district officially met Coco a chocolate lab who just completed her certification. 

Jefferson Middle School Principal Leslie Melquist had this career path picked for Coco.

“Coco is our therapy dog. We, my husband and I, adopted her when she was six weeks old with the sole purpose of I’ve always wanted to do this. I’ve always wanted to have a therapy dog at school, it can be such a tremendous benefit for our kids,” said Principal Melquist.

Coco was introduced to the students right before Christmas break and she was met with overall positivity.

“She hangs out with them, she will sit next to them, they’ll read to her, if they’re struggling emotionally she has the amazing ability to just calm right down,” explained Principal Melquist.

Not only does she offer emotional support to the students, Coco also teaches responsibility. 

“They walk with her, they’ll take her outside for some fresh air which gives them fresh air too. It’s a win-win for everyone,” said Principal Melquist.

Implementing a therapy dog, such as Coco, in schools can do great things for the mental health and morale of students and staff.

“New research around the therapy dogs actually shows that they can help decrease the levels of stress within kids or anyone for that matter more than an actual intense specified therapy session,” Principal Melquist said.

Principal Melquist believes that nothing compares to having connections like what Coco brings.

“It’s just the natural component of a living creature helping out another living person,” said Principal Melquist.

In the end, the vote to welcome Coco was unanimous.



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