Sign In

Wisconsin school therapy dog connects with students

April 3, 2020

Educators are facing all sorts of obstacles when it comes to distance learning, but a Wisconsin special education teacher is finding ways for her students to connect with her therapy dog Frannie.

Frannie the labradoodle works as a therapy dog at the Ellsworth Elementary School in western Wisconsin. She even has a school ID, resume and an official school photo for the yearbook.

“Frannie started coming to school with me every day and she quickly became a mascot of our school,” said Katie Deiss, a special education teacher and Frannie’s owner.

Deiss says she quickly saw how students, especially those with behavioral or emotional needs, made a strong connection with Frannie.

“There’s something really special about a bond between a child and a dog,” she said.

With school closures in place due to COVID-19, Deiss says she needed to find a way to keep that bond.

The page took off and now every school day at 1 p.m., Frannie shares a story with her students.

“I have parents and students saying they have an alarm set for 1 o’clock every day,” said Deiss. “This is just something really important to us educators to make sure students are reading and learning.”

Deiss says it’s her way of helping students and families find joy – and a friend – while having to stay apart.

“She is as much their dog as she is mine,” said Deiss.

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Former Victoria man’s diabetic alert dog helps him get back to life

    When Luke Hengen’s diabetes worsened in his early twenties, it stripped him of the outdoor activities where the country kid felt at home. Countless wilderness adventures and years of hard-fought football games took a toll on his body, to the point where he could no longer sense when his blood sugar was too high or […]

    Read more

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more