Bettendorf Community School District currently has five therapy dogs in its elementary schools: Akin at Neil Armstrong, Egypt at Grant Wood, Pacific at Paul Norton and Thomas Jefferson, Paxton at Herbert Hoover, and Tinker at Mark Twain.
All the therapy dogs come from a program called “CARES.” CARES is a private corporation canine assistance school in Concordia, Kansas.
Jodi Hanson is the handler for Akin, Neil Armstrong Elementary’s 4-year-old dog. Akin has been a part of Neil Armstrong for three years. Before he came to Bettendorf, Hanson had the opportunity to go to Kansas and train with Akin for a week.
At school, Akin often helps students with behavior skills and assists during work time. This includes keeping students calm during different situations and being a friend to talk to.
“...Students love to read with Akin or just work on different assignments next to him,” Hanson said.
To learn more about therapy dogs, you can visit www.caresks.com. To learn more about the therapy dogs in the district, you can visit the district website.
“I love bringing Akin to school with me every day. I honestly don't know what I would do without him. I love that the students all know him, and love seeing him every day. I think he truly makes all students and staff happy every day,” Hanson said.