Seven-year-old Shih Tzu, Mallory and two-year-old English Bulldog, Luna, are the latest additions to Fayetteville-Manlius School District’s therapy dog line-up.
The district launched its therapy dog program in 2019-20 in support of the district’s strategic plan, which includes a focus on creating a positive school environment.
All of F-M’s therapy dogs have earned their American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certification. While on school grounds, therapy dogs are always on a leash and accompanied by an adult. All interactions with the therapy dogs are voluntary so everyone within the building feels safe and comfortable.
Mallory and Luna bring the district’s therapy dog count to twelve and each F-M school has at least one therapy dog.
Mallory began serving in her role as Fayetteville Elementary School’s therapy dog on April 17. She belongs to computer lab teaching assistant Maria Davis who is Mallory’s primary handler.
Mallory joins Mrs. Davis in the computer lab two to three days a week. Mallory also visits with students in classrooms and during recess, morning arrival and walks through the school.
The goal is to have Mallory in the school five days a week once she is acclimated.
On May 8, Luna began in her new role as a therapy dog at Mott Road Elementary School. She belongs to math teacher Johnna Gilbert who will bring Luna to the school one day a week.
Luna will spend time in Mrs. Gilbert’s class as well as with one of the school’s counselors, with students during recess and morning arrival, and visiting classrooms.
In addition to Luna’s primary handler Mrs. Gilbert, Luna’s secondary handlers include Elementary Dean of Students Lisa Geraci and family-school liaison Nicole Merritt.
Luna is excited to join Mott Road’s other therapy dog, a Golden Retriever named Harper.