Tuscaloosa County School System gets its first Facility Intervention Dog

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 5:57 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA Co., Ala. (WBRC) - It did not take long for the first facility intervention dog in the Tuscaloosa County School system to give students and staff a reason to smile.

You can see how much students at Echols Middle School in Northport love being around the school’s facility intervention dog Lolly.

“Just this week, we’ve seen several students who had particularly tough days and had to step out of class and were not doing so well, we brought Lolly to them,” Donora Pinkleton, a school counselor, explained.

Lolly, which is short for Lollipop, is a three year-old Labrador Retriever, that started working at the school last week.

She was trained for more than a year to help more than one person at a time break patterns of disruptive behavior.

“They welcomed her with open arms very quickly. They see her smile, they light up and it’s been a very positive experience so far,” according to Jennifer Reaves, a librarian who is also one of Lolly’s handlers.

The old saying the dog ate my homework does not apply here.

Lolly’s handlers at Echols Middle School believe she can play a role in getting kids to calm down and get in the right state of mind to improve their behavior and complete classwork.

“The transition was next to nothing. They just felt a connection to Lolly and were able to feel better and get to a better place and be able to get back in the classroom,” Pinkleton added.

Lolly was trained by Service Dogs Alabama.

That group has trained 85 dogs to act as Facility Intervention Dogs at schools or for other groups according to Tuscaloosa County Schools.

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