School & Community News

Lessons on kindness from a dog
February 13, 2020

February 2020…A dog that teaches kindness, brings comfort to people who are ill, and even helps kids learn recently visited with the staffs of two Healthy NewsWorks newspapers.

Page, a therapy dog with Comfort Caring Canines Therapy Dogs, Inc., visited the Cole Manor Healthy Comet  and the Whitehall Healthy Reporter. Page was accompanied by her handler, Cynthia Wirth, a longtime teacher.  

Both newspapers reported on the visits in their winter editions.

When she was a teacher in Arizona, Ms. Wirth told the Healthy Comet, she brought Page to her class and encouraged some students with reading problems to take turns reading to the dog. That helped the students learn to enjoy reading, she said.

Ms. Wirth now takes Page to schools, day-care centers, hospitals, and nursing homes. “Petting animals makes you feel good, feel calm, and comfortable,” she told the Healthy Reporter.

To become a therapy dog, Page had to learn simple commands such as sit, stop, stay, and leave a toy or bone alone, Ms. Wirth said. Page also had to get used to noises and the walkers some people use to get around.

To become a therapy dog, a dog needs to be healthy, up-to-date on its shots, and trained, and it needs to have a good personality, Ms. Wirth told the young reporters.

Even dogs that are not trained be therapy dogs can help bring out kindness, Ms. Wirth said.

“People with animals talk to other people with animals,” and as a result they connect with each other, Ms. Wirth said.

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