Nelson — Therapy

Location: Talent, Oregon

Nelson began work at age two and has worked full time for 9 years. First at a middle school in a small class for children with multiple different abilities. His personality – kind and mellow – created interest from many students on campus making him the “great equalizer” and lessening the stigma of a special classroom.

Currently, he works at an elementary school where he helps students with special needs as well as any student who might be sad, upset or scared. He has come to be regarded as the school’s mascot for 320 students from kindergarten to 5th grade. His heroic acts occur daily and, because of Facility Dog training he received at Dogs for Better Lives, seem effortless on his part: he knows when to move in to support a student and when to let them come to him, he has inspired kids to do difficult tasks so they can earn a break with him and he walks with students into school who don’t want to leave their parents. He also provides comfort to the teachers and staff. Although each individual act he does for students is almost hidden in plain sight throughout the course of a school day, the impact he has on these students is tremendous. Thanks to Nelson’s gentle and unflappable demeanor the school environment becomes less scary to a student struggling with anxiety, the classroom assignment becomes manageable for a student reluctant to participate and the ability for students to feel more relaxed and engaged with their teachers and peers is significantly increased.