Three Rivers schools welcome therapy dogs

Three Rivers Community Schools recently welcomed a pair of “Paws with a Cause” facility dogs.

Therapy dogs Tanner, a golden retriever based at Three Rivers High School, and Austin, a black Lab based at Norton Elementary, already are making a difference as part of the district’s K9 Comfort Crew.

Three Rivers Public Library last week hosted a meet-and-greet with the dogs.

Tanner and Austin’s handlers couldn’t say enough about the positive reactions the two have elicited from students. Kim Hoercher is in charge of Austin, while high school principal Carrie Balk oversees Tanner.

Austin, who turned two at the end of January, and Tanner, who will turn two in May, have already undergone puppy training as well as a six-month program working with prison inmates. Now, Paws personnel come once a week for 12 weeks to assist the dogs and their handlers with training on such procedures as a tornado drill.

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