A canine companion

Harvey is a 6-year-old American German Shepherd who loves nothing more than hanging out with the students of the Grundy Center Secondary School. (Michaela Kendall/The Grundy Register photo)

GC Secondary School welcomes therapy dog to the classroom

GRUNDY CENTER – The newest staff-member at the Grundy Center Secondary School isn’t the typical employee. He refuses to take a paycheck, but will gladly work for a treat. And even though he doesn’t speak English, he still manages to bring a smile to the faces of students and staff alike.

His name is Harvey, and he’s the school’s new therapy dog.

According to his owner, Middle School special education instructor Sarah Dier, Harvey has always had a calming presence, and she knew from the beginning that he was meant to help people.

“I teach special ed., so initially, I wanted to bring a therapy dog in to help those students if they were feeling depressed, or if they were having a meltdown,” Dier said. “But then I figured, it doesn’t just have to be for special ed. students, this can be something for all students to look forward to.”

After getting approval from Principal Kristin Sheffield and the Board of Education, Dier began earlier this month to bring Harvey to school with her each Monday.

Dier said that Harvey spends much of his time wandering from room to room, checking up on students, or out on the playground playing fetch with his friends.

If someone is having a bad day, he does his best to bring a smile to their face.

“If someone’s having a rough time, and they just need a break, they can come into my classroom and lay down by Harvey and read to him, or pet him, or they can play together with his toys,” Dier said. “He’s just a comforting, calming presence, and the kids really love him.”

For the full story, see this week's Grundy Register.