I figured it was time for a follow up on The Autism Helper’s star member and favorite doggo, Ollie! For those of you that missed my first blog post, Ollie is my loyal pup who I was lucky enough to get therapy certified. This school year was his first year as a working boy and let me tell ya, he earned his rent without a doubt. As the 2021-2022 school year is coming to a close, it’s time to reflect on the memories Ollie was fortunate enough to make.
He Made New Friends…
Ollie was able to make his way into every heart within this building. We started the school year having mixed reviews. Many students instantly gushed over his fluffy fur and massive “smile”, but there were a handful that ran in the opposite direction. I am proud to say that with time, some super cool tricks, and explaining to 1st graders what “hypoallergenic” means, Ollie has an elementary school sized fan club.
Without fail, every time we turned the corner he was greeted with at least one excited “Ollie!” from student’s walking by (sorry for distracting your quiet lines, classroom teachers). Double digit students used their PBIS tickets to cash in a picture with Ollie, and how cool to think that their picture with this pup may make them feel on top of the world.
He Found His Way to Every Classroom…
As I mentioned in my previous post, sometimes I wonder what I was thinking when I decided to add a dog into my chaotic classroom. Our days are busy, which means there are times when Ollie gets to take a little solo excursion around the school (oops). So many times I will see a colleague at the end of the day and they tell me, “Ollie made a visit to my classroom today!”.
Ollie loved kindergarten due to the amount of breakfast crumbs waiting for him under desks. He really enjoyed the front office, because our interpreter had a stash of treats. However out of all of the environments, I have to say that Ollie loved PE the best. It was the first time Ollie was exposed to rubber bowling balls, after all.
He Changed Lives…
Am I biased because Ollie is my dog? Most likely. But let me tell you, he has made a difference. My students made gains in the areas of communication, turn taking, and self-regulation. They received companionship, even if it was partially because they were sneaking Goldfish crackers from the snack table. They learned responsibility and the rewarding feeling of caring for an animal that thrives off of our love and attention. So many of my student’s family members didn’t even know that their child liked dogs until Ollie came along. Even if all he did was put a smile on my student’s faces, he would have still done his job.
The impact that Ollie has made on our school is indescribable. Apologies if you aren’t a dog person and you’ve stuck along with me throughout this post. I can only imagine how loony you think I am for putting my dog on such a high pedestal. But if you saw what he does in a day’s work, I know you would too. On that note. It’s time for a nap. Happy summer!