The Student News Site of Guilford High School

The Voyager

The Student News Site of Guilford High School

The Voyager

The Student News Site of Guilford High School

The Voyager

Therapy Dogs Jake and Whisper impact community

Landen Pate
Whisper, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, receives a warm pat on the head from sophomore Owen Meyers.

   People who dedicate their time to helping others are valuable assets to any community. A good example of this generosity is the 17th Circuit Therapy Dog Organization. This remarkable group of individuals have taken it upon themselves to train their family pets to become therapy dogs, bringing joy and comfort to the lives of countless people. At the heart of their mission is a commitment to spreading happiness and providing support where it is needed the most. 

  One recipient of their efforts is Josiah Koch, a sophomore who attests to the uplifting effect therapy dogs have on his school day.

   “Therapy dogs are something everyone looks forward to in a school day,” he said.

   Among the dedicated volunteers at Guilford High School are Ms. Claudia Aschbrenner and Mr. Jim Hart, each accompanied by their loyal canine companions. Ms. Aschbrenner, alongside her Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Whisper, has been volunteering for over a decade.

   “The job is very rewarding because you see the effect it has,” said Claudia. “You see how intuitive the dogs are in reacting to a person, and as a handler you want the dog to also have a rewarding experience and watch them carefully to make sure they are enjoying it and aren’t tired. It is fun because you get to meet so many wonderful people.”

   Jim and his Australian Shepherd, Jake, have been making a difference for several years. 

   “I realized earlier on that he was different from all the other dogs I’ve rescued,” said Jim. “Jake and I first started working on leash training in the yard, and practicing our coordination together.”

   Their dedication knows no bounds as they visit not only schools but also police districts, the courthouse, and community events.  For Claudia, the joy of volunteering comes from witnessing the profound impact therapy dogs have on individuals.

   Similarly, Jim acknowledges the transformative power of their work in bringing comfort to those in need. Beyond the smiles they bring to students’ faces, the presence of therapy dogs in schools serves as a reminder of the vital role of emotional support in education. Their calming presence fosters a sense of security and belonging, contributing to a positive and nurturing learning environment.

   “Having opportunities to meet the dogs makes my day a little brighter,” said Hannah King, sophomore. “I love seeing how much the other students enjoy them too.” 

   In essence, the work of Claudia, Jim, and their fellow volunteers are the epitome of compassion and service. Through their selfless dedication and the companionship of their beloved dogs, they touch the lives of many and inspire us to make a difference in our own communities. Let us also recognize the profound impact that acts of kindness and empathy can have on individuals and society as a whole.

   “Being able to come to school and pet the dogs brings a smile to my face every time,” said Christian Williams, sophomore.

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About the Contributors
Christine Laster
Christine Laster, Reporter
Layla Armstrong
Layla Armstrong, Reporter
Landen Pate
Landen Pate, Photography Editor

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    Claudia AschbrennerApr 21, 2024 at 2:26 pm

    Thanks Landen, Christine, Layla and Mr. Bingley for the article on our therapy dog service! Whisper and Jake said to tell you they love all our friends at Guilford!