by Robert Hudson
Hillside Elementary School in Eagle Point School district- the heart of Jackson County, Oregon has a new teachers aid assisting teacher Sean Dugan-Strout in his fifth-grade classroom. The new teachers pet is a four legged, furry one year old terrier mix named Dallas who came to the Southern Oregon Humane Society from a rescue in Fresno, California.
Searching for the right dog with the perfect tempermant for service work, Dogs for the Deaf of Oregon took Dallas for their training program to make Dallas an official classroom aid. His role is to keep the students focused and calm. This is particularly beneficial to those suffering from AD/HD and struggles to focus on tasks or stay in one spot for any length of time
“He’s been trained to “greet” students by resting his head on their lap, sense when students are upset and comfort them. In time, he’ll also be able to redirect them with a nudge if they get distracted in class,” said Dugan-Strout, who volunteered to be Dallas’ handler.
Dogs for the Deaf Training director John Drach said the nonprofit agency has been training program-assistance dogs for the past five years and has placed about seven of them. Some of the dogs have been placed with counselors and doctors, as well as with teachers at Ashland High School and Helman Elementary School.
there was no cost to the district
“Although Dallas has been given the title of “teacher’s aide,” Dugan-Strout is responsible for the care and costs of Dallas and the upkeep of his training”, reported Tiffanie Lambert, Eagle Point’s director of school improvement.
Sean Dugan-Strout not only was the primary person to make this happen, but then paid all the training costs from his own pocket. That is amazing. The kids at Hillside have a special teacher as well as a special teachers aid.