SCOTT COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — The dog days of summer are in session at Eastern Elementary. The Scott County school has two certified therapy dogs.
There's Quincey, the seasoned library dog, and Max, the newer dog on the block. Both special canines are reporting for duty during their summer camp.
"If one of them is not here for some reason, we always have a dog here, " said Melissa Johnson, the school's counselor and Max's owner.
In the library, kids read to Quincey. He gives them a calm confidence and comfort, especially for those who might ordinarily struggle.
"Because he's so calm, it automatically helps calm the kids down. When he's calm, they kind of take what he's doing and reflect off that, " said librarian Debbie Gossage and Quincey's owner.
Max hangs with the school counselor. He uses his special skills to help kids with everything from anxiety to attendance.
Melissa Johnson said, "It's very inviting for them to come into the office. It's not as scary when there's a dog for them to sit with."
School with Max and Quincey isn't just fun and games. The work they do can be life-changing, like the work Max has done with Amy Power's daughter.
Amy Power said, "When we would be in the drop-off, we would have to have support to get her out of the vehicle, and there were days we couldn't even get her out of the vehicle to come to school. She fell in love with Max, and since that point, it has not been a struggle for her to come to school anymore. She loves Max, and they have a very special relationship."
As kids gear up for another school year with the potential to be impacted by COVID-19, these dogs are maybe more essential than ever, providing a sense of normalcy in difficult times.
"They can pet him, put a smile on their face, and they can kind of forget what's going on and just focus on being with him, " Said Debbie Gossage.
Johnson added, "It has been very good for him to just be here and be around kids and do what I think he was put on this earth to do."