Four-legged friend supports Halifax area students
In the Halifax Area SD, therapy dog Maggie Mae is a familiar face among students and staff. Maggie, a 7-year old black Labrador retriever certified by Therapy Dog International, has been supporting student learning since 2013. Maggie’s tenure in Halifax began as a project in the district’s Discovery Character Education program. Once a week, students took turns training Maggie to pass her test. Her curriculum included responding to basic commands, assisting individuals who use wheelchairs, crutches, and walkers, and demonstrating an overall loving disposition. Maggie passed her test with flying colors in March 2014 and immediately accepted the challenge of supporting student needs.
Maggie participates in Relay for Life, Special Olympics and Mini-Thon. She travels to nursing homes and senior citizen events with high school student groups and helps with fundraising activities on behalf of Susquehanna Service Dogs. On Maggie Mondays she gets to be a classroom friend. Middle school students partner with Maggie during their Discovery classes to learn more about the role of therapy and service dogs. Elementary students read to her and share their stories of success. She is also a part of the Tail Waggin’ Tutor program sponsored by Therapy Dog International and the YMCA’s Mentoring Program. A non-judgmental friend and supporter of public education, Maggie is a constant reminder that kindness, concern and support come in all shapes and sizes.