As students transitioned to four and a half days of in-person learning last month, therapy dog Koia was there, wagging her tail, greeting students and staff, and making the rounds in the building, offering support, and bringing happiness.
Approved by the BOE in December, Koia is owned by JFS staff member Margo Kibbler. Koia, a female golden doodle, is a certified AKC Canine Good Citizen and therapy dog with PAWS for Friendship Inc. A therapy dog provides emotional support to those around it. This can be a quick visit to lower stress or regular visits to build a positive relationship. Research shows that including therapy dogs in the classroom and school building can improve attendance and learning outcomes.
Koia started coming to school in March on Wednesdays to meet staff and get comfortable in the building. Then she started coming on hybrid days to meet students and currently, she attends three days. She attends Kibbler’s classes, walks the hallways greeting students, goes to the library, and attends other classes as needed. No matter where she is, Koia is a constant, comforting presence for the entire building.
Kibbler said, “Koia is a quick escape from all the changes this year has had and reminds our students that some changes can bring happiness.”
The smiles, laughter, and joy seen on the faces of students and staff when Koia is around are a true testament to the comfort and joy she brings. She is truly a welcome addition to the JFS school family.