Special therapy dog helps keep the calm in Nebraska classroom

Wednesday, November 08, 2017 01:46PM
Meet 8-year-old Phoebe, a certified and trained therapy dog. Sarah Bloomquist reports during Action News at noon on November 8, 2017.

PAPILLON, Neb. - A Nebraska second grade classroom has a very special teacher's aide who helps keep the calm.

Meet 8-year-old Phoebe, a certified and trained therapy dog.

The West Highland White Terrier goes to class with the teacher, Kelly Vornbrock, who also happens to be her owner.

Vornbrock brings Phoebe to class a couple of times a week as part of her lesson plan for the students. Phoebe also goes out for recess and interacts with other students in the building. She says Phoebe helps students learn responsibility and respect. They help walk her and get her treats.

She says that although the breed tends to be hyper, Phoebe knows when it's time to get to work.

"Her vest is her sign that she has to go to work. When I put her vest on she's a completely different dog. When she's at home, I still see some of that puppy behavior," she said.

Vornbrock says the children's voice levels have to be a little quieter because Phoebe has sensitive ears and they know they have to pick up their pencils and their crayons.

And Phoebe is a friendly face when a student needs it. Vornbrock says she's seen Phoebe sit with students who have autism when they're starting to feel really overwhelmed and they'll just reach down and pet her.

Students say they are a fan of Phoebe and find she often comes over when they need a smile or she needs a quick pet.

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