Cedar Rapids school gets new therapy dog - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids school gets new therapy dog

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McKinley Middle School in Cedar Rapids welcomed a new therapy dog on Monday. 

Betsy is an eight week old Catahoula who is expected to grow to around 60 pounds. 

She will provide therapy for students who have gone through trauma. 
"If they have divorced parents or if there is substance abuse in the home or mental illness in the home," says Katie Sorgenfrey, McKinley Counselor. 

Sorgenfrey says there are other situations that could also be considered trauma like the death of a loved one. 

Special Education teacher Christina Ditch says although it's her first day, Betsy is already making a difference.

"Really and truly the kids really stayed on task, probably a little bit better than usual," says Ditch. 

"I had a student just this morning who was so anxious not quite sure how they were gonna get back to class for the rest of the day and I went and grabbed Betsy and in less than a minute they were so calm," says Sorgenfrey. 

Betsy is adding to the many tools McKinley has been using to become a trauma-informed school. 

"A therapy dog, yoga, mindfulness practices different things that help students deal with these situations better," says Associate Principal Justin Blietz. 

Betsy lives with Ditch who will bring her to school each day. 

Ditch says the school is being courteous of students who may be afraid or allergic to dogs. 

McKinley Middle School has partnered with Four Oaks to find ways to support students who have gone through trauma. 



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