Superintendent Winfried Feneberg
114 Cougar Court
New London, NH 03257
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Kearsarge Regional Middle School Students Incorporate Service Dogs Into Learning
NEW LONDON – For two Kearsarge Regional Middle School students, walking the halls and attending class with a service dog by their side has become routine.
Anna Cook, a seventh grade student, has been bringing her service dog, a black lab named Yoshie, to school for a little more than a year. Jacob Heath, a sixth grade student, just began bringing his service dog, a German shepherd named Sophie, to school for the past month.
“Service animals provide a critical service to the people they help, and it’s wonderful that Jacob and Anna have Sophie and Yoshie to help them with their daily studies,” Superintendent Feneberg said. “The training these dogs have is amazing, and it is a pleasure to welcome them at Kearsarge. It’s also a great learning opportunity for other students to see what these animals do.”
Both students have diabetes, and their service dogs are trained to recognize a change in their student’s blood sugar by smelling their skin and breath. The dogs will then alert the students to a change by jumping up, nudging the student, or whining.
“It’s calming to have Sophie with me and the day goes a lot differently because she is there,” Heath said. “Sometimes the day is stressful, but most days it’s pretty easy going because she listens to me pretty well, and she’s a stress reliever to me.”
The dogs wear service animal vests at school, and at first the animals spurred a lot of questions from Heath and Cook’s classmates. Their peers have since come to understand that the dogs are at school to serve a vital role in monitoring Heath and Cook’s health.
“It’s become more normal since it’s been a year,” Cook said. “At first there were a lot of questions about Yoshie, but now my classmates are used to it.”