Alabaster City Schools welcome puppy as newest employee
Warrior is a seven-week-old Australian Shepherd who will be a therapy dog for students and staff at Alabaster City Schools. Source: WBRC video
Warrior meets students at Meadow View Elementary School. Source: WBRC video
Warrior will go to reading classes and be part of bullying and mentoring progams at the schools. Source: WBRC video
ALABASTER, AL (WBRC) -
The Alabaster City School system has a new employee and it may be the youngest yet.
Seven-week-old "Warrior" is an Australian Shephard that is now on the payroll and started his first day this week as a therapy dog.
It's a show-and-tell that will last for years at Alabaster City Schools.
Warrior was introduced to students at Meadow View Elementary Friday morning.
Less than a week into the new gig he's already being put to work.
"He will go to every school. We're hoping to have him on a rotating schedule where he will go with the reading classes, that he will be able to talk to the intermediate level middle school. We'll do bullying programs. We'll do mentor programs," Wendy McNish, the director of Alabaster's alternative school, said.
McNish says she's seen the positive impact a therapy dog can have on students and even staff.
"I noticed this morning one of the ladies this morning said my blood pressure is already down. It's been up all week because of stress," she said.
Warrior is already a big hit with the kids. Justin McKnight is a third grader at Meadow View Elementary.
"He's going to help people stop bullying and make sure they think before they do and he'll help them learn. Learn all the stuff that he knows but we don't know," McKnight said.
Dorann Tanner is the mastermind behind bringing in Warrior. She's hoping Warrior will be a big deterrent in the bullying epidemic.
"Today when I was playing with the kids with Warrior I said, ‘We're not going to be bullies because we wouldn't want anyone to bully Warrior, right,'" Tanner said.
The school is working with Hand-in-Paw, an animal-assisted therapy program.
Together they will work to reduce bullying, curb aggression and anger as well as improve reading skills through warriors presence.
For Justin, he's just happy to have a new member to the team.
"He's a really cute dog. He's going to learn a lot growing up in life. It's really cool to adopt him," Justin said.
Warrior will stay with Director McNish. As an employee, the school board will pay for his vet bills, food and obedience training.