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Training Therapy Dogs

June 1, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has the Roxy dogs of Doylestown missing school just as much as the kids.

Sharon Fleck, the president of Roxy Therapy Dogs, trains and certifies her furry friends for every circumstance. She brings them to schools, hospitals, groups homes for medically fragile children, and even courthouses before child abuse cases.

“Kids are very resilient, but my worry is that some of them may struggle,” said Fleck.

The entire program houses 80 dogs and their owners. Through various specialized support programs, they visit thousands of children a week.

Diane Smith, founder, is very worried about how kids are coping without seeing the dogs.

“I worry about the kids that are in trouble, kids that are victims of abuse and neglect, children in group homes that we visit that are in ventilator. It’s very hard for me personally,” said Smith.

A 9-year-old student commented on how she misses her four-legged friend “Theo”, who used to visit her classroom.

“He comes after math, and I’m usually stressed after math,” she said.

To try and alleviate some of the anxiety during the pandemic, Roxy Therapy Dogs is creating a series of online videos and giving volunteer readings to the kids (even if their dog is napping).

“Anything I can do [is] just try to keep that connection going,” Fleck said.

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