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Teacher trains therapy dog on her own dime to help students

We often hear of teachers dipping into their own pockets and volunteering their extra time to help their students succeed. A third grade teacher in Robinson, Illinois is a perfect example.

Posted: Oct 31, 2019 3:47 PM
Updated: Nov 1, 2019 8:21 AM

ROBINSON, Ill. (WTHI) - We often hear of teachers dipping into their own pockets and volunteering their extra time to help their students succeed. A third-grade teacher in Robinson, Illinois is a perfect example.

Terry Inboden works at Lincoln Elementary. She found an interesting solution when some of her students struggled to deal with their emotions and focus in class. Inboden looked no further than her 6-year-old American cocker spaniel named Bailey.

Inboden says, “My mother is in a nursing home and I used to bring {Bailey} to visit her there and I could see the impact she had on her and everybody else at the nursing home so when I read an article about dogs in school, of course, I thought that would be a perfect transition for her."

Inboden did her research before getting the school principal onboard with training Bailey to be a therapy dog. Then they went to Superintendent Josh Quick and eventually got school board approval.

The process took about five months and Inboden did the training and paid for the certification herself.

Now, Bailey is an official staff member with her own identification tag and a school picture. She is a school celebrity and makes the rounds each morning to greet students and teachers.

One student says, "When we're sad we can pet her and it makes us happy."

Inboden says Bailey can sense when someone is down or not feeling well. Her mere presence puts a smile on faces in every corner of the school. Some students are even learning to identify when they need support on their own and will seek out Bailey to help them calm down.

She is also a great listener as students practice their reading and she takes part in school spirit events. 

Teachers at other schools are taking notes on Bailey’s success. Inboden says it was worth the extra work.

"We're always looking for ways to help them and this was just a perfect opportunity that I had."

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