Margarita Makes the Front Page of The Burlington County Times!

SHAMONG — About 20 pairs of eyes widened and a few shouts of excitement rang out as two four-legged visitors took over Linda Newman’s first-grade class Tuesday at the Indian Mills Elementary School.

“I want to pet them! I love dogs!” the students said in chorus.

Robyn Klim, the district’s director of pupil services, asked the students to quiet down and gather in a circle as she led her dog, Lena, a 3-year-old Shih Tzu-Yorkie mix, to the center of the room. Following behind was Jen Beadling, a middle school teacher with her dog, Rita, a 7-year-old English pointer.

The two dogs were recently trained and certified as therapy dogs and were part of a new districtwide initiative to support student success. 

“Our goal of the program is to provide students with the support, encouragement and friendship of a nonjudgmental therapy dog,” Klim said. “Research shows that a relationship with a therapy dog allows students to be more successful in school and the community.”

The goal of having the dogs in the school is to help alleviate stress and help students focus, Klim said. For example, the dogs could come into the guided reading exercises and help students who are struggling with reading stay on task. The dogs have already visited one class where students were taking a test, Klim said, and they were allowed to pet the dogs to help stay calm and chase away any nerves. 

The program began at the school earlier this month as a way to build skills and confidence for the students.

Each of the classes will get an introduction lesson, just like Newman’s class received Tuesday, before the dogs will be brought back for other activities. Klim said that Rita had already made her second trip back to a middle school class who had the opportunity to pet her while taking a test.

The plan is to continue to expand into next year, to allow all classrooms to sign up for about one visit a quarter. Teachers will be able to go into the “The Bark Room,” and sign up for a visit.

As the program expands, teachers can match their lessons to incorporate the dogs. 

Both Klim and Beadling were getting their dogs trained as therapy dogs for different purposes when they started discussing it with each other.

“Wouldn’t this be awesome to do for our school district?” Klim said.

From there, Klim worked with Superintendent Christine Vespe to set up a board policy allowing the animals to visit during the day as well as secured insurance.

The dogs will be accompanied by Klim and Beadling at all times that they are in the school. Students who do not want to participate or parents who do not want their children to participate will have the opportunity to opt-out of the program, Klim said. 

So far, however, Vespe said not one student in the district has opted out.

Excitement filled the room Tuesday as the students got to interact with the dogs and learn about them. Beadling told the students how she rescued Rita last year, while Klim discussed how she adopted Lena about two years ago.

“I love you Lena,” Keegan O’Brien, 7, said as the dogs were walking around the circle.

Still, he said Rita was his favorite dog that he had met.

“I really like Rita cause there’s a girl named Rita in Power Rangers,” he said with a smile.

For Klim and Beadling, seeing the students smiles and positive reactions has made the program worth it.

“I think it’s very exciting for the kids to have exposure to therapy dogs (and) learn about them,” Beadling said.

Klim said teachers are starting to use the dogs as a motivation tactic for the students.

“I think that (Lena) is motivating our students,” she said. “She’s providing positive rewards for our children.”

Registered R.E.A.D. Team

Not long after Margarita and I passed our test to become a registered Therapy Dog Team with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, I learned about a great program called R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dogs). I decided this would be an excellent opportunity for us, so I began to study for the written test.  One day before Margarita’s 1st Gotcha Day / 7th-ish Birthday, we received the great news that I passed, and we are now officially a registered R.E.A.D. team!

“The mission of the R.E.A.D. program is to improve the literacy skills of children through the assistance of registered therapy teams as “literacy mentors.”

The Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) program improves children’s reading and communication skills by employing a powerful method: reading to an animal. But not just any animal. R.E.A.D. companions are registered therapy animals who volunteer with their owner/handlers as a team, going to schools, libraries and many other settings as reading companions for children.

R.E.A.D. is the first and foremost program that utilizes therapy animals to help kids improve their reading and communication skills and also teaches them to love books and reading. It’s been growing around the world since November of 1999 when ITA launched it here in Salt Lake City. More than 3,500 therapy teams have trained and registered with the program and are going strong!

Today, thousands of registered R.E.A.D. teams work throughout the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, Finland, France, Sweden, South Africa, Slovenia, Spain, Netherlands, Norway and beyond. “

~Intermountain Therapy Animals

We are very excited to be a part of this wonderful program!

Evesham Library’s Wagging Tales Program

Evesham Library offers a monthly “Wagging Tales” event where children come to the Library to read to Therapy Dogs.  Margarita is now a part of this awesome program which aims to help children boost their confidence and increase their communication and literary skills while reading to a registered Therapy Dog.

We are very excited to be a part of this program!

Margarita Graduates from Bachelor of Arfs Obedience Class!

Margarita attended an 8 week obedience course in preparation for her Therapy Dog registration.  During this class, Rita learned things such as:

  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Down
  • Back
  • Stand

Rita graduated with flying colors! So proud of this girl!

Brian had flowers waiting for Rita when we got home!

Rita Is Now a Registered Therapy Dog!

Those of you following along may remember that Margarita and I took a Therapy Dog Workshop in preparation for taking our Therapy Dog test.  I am proud to announce that Margarita and I passed the 4-part test to become a registered team with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs!

Margarita has already visited an assisted living home, a medical facility, and also participated in a local library’s children’s reading program!

Congratulations, Margarita!

The Liver Killers…Now Sponsored By Undone Watches!

We are excited to announce our new partnership with Undone Watches!  Undone Watches allows you to create a unique watch that reflects your individuality.  Each watch is a unique message! Visit them today to design yours!

Our personalized watches:

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Back of our watch:dsc07002

Suits and collars:file-oct-29-3-57-40-pm

Individuality at its finest… haha!dsc06971Be sure to visit Undone Watches, and tell them The Liver Killers at Cello’s Corner sent you!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UndoneWatches/

Website: http://www.undone.watch/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/undonewatches/

The Liver Killers… Now Sponsored By Ken Tidy Photography!

The Liver Killers are proud to announce that we are now sponsored by Ken Tidy Photography ! Ken Tidy has long been known as one of the most talented photographers in our area, capturing stunning action-packed images that truly express each dog’s individual personality. His images have been shared across the DockDogs world, and we are truly honored that Ken has chosen our fur-kids to represent his amazing work. We super excited about this sponsorship! Be sure to check out some of Ken’s amazing photography, and schedule a session with him to capture YOUR pup!
Website: www.kentidy.com
FB: @kentidyphotography
Twitter: @kptidy
Instagram: @kentidyphoto

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