KEENE - This isn't a regular class at Keene High School. This is Small Animal Management class. They’re assignment: Turn a four-month-old puppy named Blue into a therapy dog for the school.
It was dog eat dog as students competed to get into the class. “A lot of the kids in here do want to be vets, or do want to work with animals, or are considering some sort of animal career," Biology Teacher Sarah Elsharif said.
Keene High School principal Sandra Denning came up with the idea of a therapy dog for the school. But It wasn’t a walk in the park to get the superintendent on board. “His first reaction wasn’t ‘Sure, let’s go for it,’ but he trusts me as an administrator, and he said, ‘You make it work and yeah, we’ll do it,'" she said.
And doggone if it hasn’t changed the attitude of the school this semester. Kids look forward to coming to school to see Blue.“A young lady came by, she always pets Blue, she doesn’t have the best home life, she’s not the best student, she struggles, and she did tell me the only reason she comes to school now is to make sure she can see Blue," Denning said.
If it helps one student, administrators feel it's all worth it.
Blue already knows her way around school. She also knows when to come out in between classes for belly rubs.
While Blue lives with Principal Denning off hours, the dog is actually owned by the school district. Let's hope she doesn’t change schools anytime soon. “I think it’s job security for me, for a while anyway. If the dog's here, I’m here," Denning said.