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Trooper in his vest offering therapy to inmates at the Steele county detention center

Trooper in his vest offering therapy to inmates at the Steele county detention center

Trooper in his vest offering therapy to inmates at the Steele county detention center

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Therapy dogs are useful in multiple different settings such as hospitals, college campuses and nursing homes. They help with coping skills, releasing stress, lowering anxiety and even lowering blood pressure.

Trooper, a yellow lab, was rescued by school counselor Mrs. Margo McKay is and example of a therapy dog. Although he is fully blind, he very gentle and loving. After realizing how well Trooper was around people, Mrs. McKay said, “I work with a lot of students that are very anxious. We do an anxiety group and a depression group and I wondered if there was a possibility that I could have him come to the high school.” With her background as a counselor at the OHS, Mrs. McKay thought it would be a great idea to have Trooper team up with her.

I work with a lot of students that are very anxious. We do an anxiety group and a depression group and I wondered if there was a possibility that I could have him come to the high school.

— Mrs. Margo McKay

Many of the students Mrs. McKay works with could benefit from a therapy dog, so she was beginning to think of having Trooper at the OHS. However, for Trooper to be allowed to be at the OHS, he would need to be certified as a therapy dog. To become a certified service dog Trooper had to go through two obedience classes, have three supervised visits to nursing homes and pass a test. This test was to confirm that Trooper was calm and didn’t get worked up around groups of people.

Once Trooper had passed all of his tests and was ready, Mrs. McKay sent all of his paperwork to the district office. The district decided to not write a policy for therapy dogs in the high school at this time, which means that Trooper will not be able to visit the high school.

Since Trooper was not able to come to the school, Mrs. McKay still wanted to get him into an environment where he could be of use. Trooper has weekly visits to the Steele County Detention Center on Tuesdays, where he visits with three different groups to try and help them move forward in their lives. Mrs. McKay is also a hospice volunteer so she plans to visit people who are nearing the end of their life, and she also plans to bring Trooper to the St. Peter hospital to meet with patients.

Trooper has become a great therapy dog and he will continue getting better. Trooper might be here next year depending on what happens. Trooper has helped so many people already and there will be plenty more come.

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About the Writer
Luke Kubicek, Writer
I am Luke Kubicek a junior at the OHS. I am active in hockey and lacrosse. I wanted to join Magnet because I heard is was a good learning experience and wanted to see what it was all about. I am very active and love to play sports and hang out with friends on my...
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