A social worker in the Baldwinsville School District is working to provide comfort, support, and some stress relief to students at Van Buren Elementary.
Frankie is only one and a half years old, but students at Van Buren say he’s part of the family. The golden doodle is hypo-allergenic and started training as a therapy dog when he was only 12 weeks old.
He became a part of Van Buren Elementary when he was just six months old, slowly intergrating before taking the full-time position.
His owner, Kristin Fabbri, says she knew she wanted to train Frankie to be there for her students when they needed him.
“It’s something that, until you see it, it’s just kind of so special,” said Fabbri, the school’s social worker. “The kids walk in in the morning and see him and their faces light up.”
Frankie is one of only a few full-time therapy dogs in Central New York schools. He works Monday through Thursday, greeting the children as they get off the school bus, visiting classrooms, and going for walks with students.
“Sometimes having that kind of close sensory connection to him petting his fur, you can just see them feel better and sometimes they can even just verbalize that it makes them feel better,” said Fabbri.
Students at Van Buren Elementary say Frankie helps them focus and get ideas, especially when he visits their writing class.
The Baldwinsville School District says they hope to add a therapy dog to a few more schools in the near future.