DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas (KXAN) - A new therapy dog has non-verbal kids talking. Teachers and administrators are amazed at how quickly they've seen positive changes within the students who have been around Zoe.
When Zoe showed up at school in Dripping Springs this year, non-verbal students suddenly began to speak.
"The student was in the hallway," said counselor Melissa Fleming at Walnut Springs Elementary School. "I've been here 3 years and I've never really heard him talk when I'm around... And he started saying, DOG! DOG! And I almost started crying right then because I'm like - oh my goodness, look what Zoe can do!"
Teachers and staff also use Zoe when they have to break tough news to kids. It helps to have a dog to hug when bad things happen.
"A couple years ago, we tried to use social work interns from Texas State and just because of class schedules and the distance between San Marcos and Dripping Springs, it wasn't working," Walnut Springs Principal Julie Pryor said.
Pryor expected positive things to happen, but she says she was stunned at how fast she saw the emotional changes within the kids.
And just like canine cops live with the officer they work with, Zoe lives with Pryor. And that is rather ironic because Pryor is married to a police officer, and yet she was one who brought a dog a home for work.
Like most schools nowadays, security is an important issue. And that means when Zoe shows up for work, she's got to flash her identification card just like every other school employee. That's right - Zoe the therapy dog has very own photo ID.
Walnut Springs was able to buy Zoe and have her trained for three thousand dollars - and every penny of that money was raised through PTA donations.
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