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Therapy dog helps middle school students

 Artie the therapy dog relaxes while Centennial junior high school students pet her.
Artie the therapy dog relaxes while Centennial junior high school students pet her. (KGWN)
Published: Jan. 7, 2020 at 7:31 PM CST
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Faces of students and staff at Centennial middle school light up when Artie the therapy dog walks by. Her owner and handler, Kerin Dillion, says she can change people’s bad moods.

"She is able to kind of bring them out of that mood and help them focus and actually work on the material we are doing,” Dillon said.

Students say she is here for them.

"I have really bad anxiety and if I'm stressed out about anything going on with the day she always comes up to me like she knows [I’m anxious] and she just makes me feel better," said Aubrey Thomson 8th grader.

There are some rules they have to follow so Artie can be in the school.

"Anybody that's going to work with her has to be certified through the Alliance of Therapy Dogs," Dillon said.

Artie isn’t a service dog.

"Therapy dogs can go into schools and go into nursing homes and things like that to help provide support that they aren't allowed to go into stores," Dillon said.

She is a friend to these students.

"I guess you could say she's kind of like all of our pets but not really she just like one of our friends," said Dalyn Campbell, 8th grader.

She also helps them in class and throughout the day.

"Her just presence makes you feel safer and then having something warm and soft to touch makes you feel better," Thomson said.

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