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Emotional SupportTestimonials


Howard Barkan with Winnie and Debbie Glessner with Hannah and Heidi did ESY (extended school year) visits to Goodnoe Elementary in Council Rock School District to work with Lindsay Hawthorne’s class. One of her students, Nate Whitney, wrote about his experiences with Winnie and Hannah.

Petting Hannah

Therapy Dogs

By Nate Whitney

My experience with any dog before I was with the therapy dogs was not very easy for me. I would be terrified to be near any dog. It was pretty upsetting for me because when I would go out in public and there would be a dog, it would be extremely stressful for me.

When I started seeing Hannah, I was nervous, but I didn’t expect for me to become so good with her. As time went on, and Hannah and I had more visits, the better I got with her. Each time I saw her I would do something that I was too nervous to do the last time (for example, walking Hannah or petting Hannah on the head). When I would do something that I couldn’t do the last time, I felt pretty proud of myself and what I have accomplished. 

I definitely think that my experiences with Hannah have helped me a good amount in public situations with dogs. I wouldn’t be as nervous and stressed out when near dogs. A couple of things I loved about Hannah was how gentle she was and how she would know that I was scared and wouldn’t do certain things (for example, she wouldn’t sniff my hand or kiss me because she knew I was nervous,) to make me comfortable. Also, I loved how calm she was.

Later on, during ESY (Extended School Year), I met Winnie. At first, I was extremely nervous because it seemed that Winnie was a little more energetic than Hannah. As time went on, I realized that Winnie is just as gentle as Hannah. I would (just like with Hannah) start to do things I wouldn’t do the last time. 

The first time I saw Winnie I was too scared to even touch her. Now I can pet Winnie and I feel more comfortable with her. When I would pet Winnie, it would feel like a great accomplishment for me because the first time I couldn’t even go near her.I enjoyed my time with the therapy dogs very much because it has helped me a lot with social situations with dogs. I appreciate all the help and skills that they have given to me.

Getting to know Winnie