Meet Max, the new Smoky Row Elementary therapy dog! Smoky Row principal Lila Jay knew her family pet would be a great asset in the school environment. And following the required training and certification process, Jay welcomed Max into the Rocket family.
West Clay Elementary principal Jill Schipp is a huge supporter of therapy dogs and helped support Jay through the process.
"Jill did a helpful zoom call for anyone interested in therapy certification," commented Jay. "She included all the needed forms and paperwork. Since you are working with multiple agencies to get the ball rolling, having that in one spot was helpful."
Jay even visited Schipp and Palmer at West Clay to see them in action. It was helpful to see how students interacted with the dog and witness how much Palmer was a great asset to the school.
The therapy dog certification process requires training for both the animal and handler teams. Jay worked with Max on basic obedience skills and staying steady and calm at all times. "This spring Max and I went through Adventure Dog training, and he is now Master Trekker status," exclaimed Jay. "He loves to hike, retrieve objects, swim in the lake, and ride in a boat. He is still only two years old, so we have many skills we can continue to learn."
Since starting on April 29th, Jay can already see Max's impact on the Smoky Row students and staff. He brings a smile to everyone’s faces and provides a calming effect. "My goal in introducing him was to provide every student with at least one exposure to Max where they could greet him in and outside of their classroom setting," remarked Jay. "Next year, I plan to offer Max to provide a break if needed and an ear to listen to books being read aloud and his daily visits around the building. We have already started collecting spirit wear items so he can participate in spirit days at school!"
Max joins the crew of existing therapy dogs who all bring joy and calm to the students and staff of Carmel Clay Schools.