REETired

It is with mixed emotions that I announce Margarita’s early retirement from Therapy Dog work. It has been decided that it is not in Margarita’s best health interest for her to receive vaccinations. Recently, her rabies titer test revealed she no longer has immunity and would require a rabies booster. Her Therapy Dog registration can not be renewed without a rabies vaccination.

Although I am saddened that she cannot carry on with official Therapy Dog visits, I’m thrilled that she can to continue to be actively involved in our online math lessons with my students for the remainder of this school year. 

In the last 4 years, Sweet Reet has formed a bond with so many individuals. In hospital and retirement home settings, she provided much comfort to the elderly. Within the school setting, she has improved students’ success socially, emotionally and cognitively. I am absolutely honored to have been a small part in the huge role she has played in making a remarkable difference in the lives of countless people of all ages. 

Some highlights from Margarita’s four years of Therapy Dog work:

  • initiated the therapy dog program in the Shamong Township School District as the district’s first Therapy Dog
  • featured in the Burlington County Times newspaper Not once …but twice!
  • participated on campus at Rowan College’s Mental Health Week event, while she helped enlighten students and staff on the positive benefits therapy dogs provide for students with depression and anxiety
  • attended YMCA Camp Ockanickon with sixth graders 
  • appeared on Action news 
  • had her very own district-approved Google Classroom
  • featured in “School Leader” – the official publication of the NJ School Boards Association 
  • participated in a 2021 Burlington County, NJ Board of Education Director’s Meeting explaining the benefits of a Therapy Dog Program in a school setting and how she was able to engage students during remote learning (Click HERE to see her slideshow)

Of all the adventures our dogs have taken me on, this — 𝘣𝘺 𝘧𝘢𝘳 — has been the most rewarding of all. I am beyond grateful to have witnessed the significant and lasting impressions Rita has made in the lives of those she visited – both in person and virtually.

In her retirement, we will attempt to accomplish the last two items of her lymphoma Adventure List. Beyond that, you’ll find her lounging on the dock, GLAMping, and visiting outdoor wineries and breweries. 

#REETired 

Shamong Township Therapy Dog Photos from Pre-Covid In-person Teaching:

Coloring pages made from photos of Rita with students:

Remote Teaching with Rita:

Virtual School Spirit Days

Shamong Township School District Staff Yearbook Photo:

Rita’s Virtual Classroom: