CINCINNATI (FOX19) — St. Xavier has added Evan, a two-year-old golden retriever for therapy.
St. Xavier partnered with Hamilton County Educational Service Center and Circle Tail on the effort.
Circle Tail is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide service and hearing dogs to people with disabilities.
Evan has gone through extensive training to become a therapy dog.
“He is so focused on going where there is someone in need. He has a crazy sixth sense and is incredible in his empathy for those in need. He seems to absorb what is needed from each person he interacts with," a representative from Circle Tail said of Evan.
Even though he’s only been at the school for a few days, Assistant Principal Jason Ahlers says he’s already made a difference.
“There’s so much stress, so much anxiety and we want to do anything we can do to help our students and let them know we care about them," Ahlers told FOX19 NOW. "And Evan is a palpable, walking-in-the-hallway example of care.”
As part of the pilot, school counselors have been trained as handlers for Evan. If the pilot program works well this semester, Evan will stick around for next school year.
While his main job is to support students who may be struggling in and around our counselors’ offices, he will also work with our entire school community.
Evan will live with a host family when he’s not at school.
He will spend most of his time comforting and assisting students in School Counseling and Educational Services.