Medina Journal-Register — Very often dogs are refered to as “man’s best friend” and that most certainly is the case for some students at Oak Orchard School thanks to the weekly visit by their special canine buddy Humphrey.
A Landsear Newfoundland and a certified therapy dog, Humphrey began working with Oak Orchard students last spring helping with counseling. This semester he has been helping out in a class of special needs kids.
“Humphey absolutely loves it. He thinks he’s at a spa with all the attention he gets and the kids love to be with him,” said Humphrey’s owner and certified handler Wendi Pencille, who volunteers her time to bring Humphrey into the school.
“Humphrey really means the world to the kids. They really look forward to him coming,” said Counselor Ann Marie Martillotta, who notes that the students made treats for Humphrey for a recent visit.
Martillotta adds that Humphrey helps the kids relax, open up and become more socially interactive. “He’s a trustworthy friend that they really open up with,” she said. “Kids who normally don’t say much of anything will talk to Humphrey and ask him questions. It really spawns some interesting interaction. They are comfortable with him. They see Humphrey as someone who loves them. It’s love and companionship.”
Pencille notes that Humphrey has been certified by Therapy Dogs International, an organization which as its website states “is dedicated to regulating, testing and registration of therapy dogs and their volunteer handlers for the purpose of visiting nursing homes, hospitals, other institutions and wherever else therapy dogs are needed.”
“It’s more rewarding that I thought possible,”Pencille said. “To see the kids faces when they interact with Humphrey its just very rewarding. I love it so much. I feel I’m doing some good with him. I really do.”