Willow is Northeastern Local School District’s (NELSD) newest therapy dog based at South Vienna Elementary. She will be providing companionship and support to students in their classrooms. Mrs. Hufford, Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Hess, and Mrs. Wood will serve as Willow's handlers, and her services will continue to expand as other staff members go through the required handler training.
Willow recently celebrated her second birthday on July 2nd. She is excited to be a part of the South Vienna Elementary team. Willow joins us from Ability Center Assistance Dogs (ACAD) in Sylvania, OH, and is a member of the newly established Therapy Dogs in Schools Project, a research initiative to create and disseminate best practice guidelines for school-based therapy dogs, under the guidance of Dr. Janet Hoy-Gerlach, professor University of Toldeo’s School of Social Justice and co-founder and co-chair of NASW Ohio’s Human-Animal Interaction Working Group.
She wanted to let her NELSD family know that although she is young, she has had many exciting adventures in her first two years of life, thanks to her foster mothers. Her first foster mother had a pilot’s license and blessed Willow with her first opportunity to travel on an airplane. Her second foster mother was a school counselor at Perrysburg High School and provided Willow with her first in-school experience as part of her training.
Willow was a part of the Fireworks litter and was named after the willow firework, which looks like a giant gold willow tree in the sky with delicate golden trails that hang in the air for ten seconds or more.