The power of puppies


Since Sept. 14th, Olivia Wylie, a Spanish teacher at CHS, has not been able to walk through the bumbling halls of Community without constantly being stopped by students. The day before, Wylie’s life had changed; she got Shiloh a service puppy in training.

Paws With a Cause — an organization that trains assistance dogs to help people with disabilities — contacted Wylie about fostering a dog. Paws with a Cause helps clients connect with a dog, makes equipment for clients and trains dogs to become service dogs.

However, Wylie is doing a special program with them.

Paws for the Cause now uses prisoners to help train these dogs and they have a much better success rate than just the average person on the street like myself,” Wylie said.

Although she will have to let Shiloh go once he is about 12 or 14 months old, Wylie had another motive for getting Shiloh.

“I had some students who had some issues with anxiety. I thought maybe this would be a way to soothe them and calm them in the classroom,” Wylie said.

Since getting Shiloh, Wylie has seen changes in her classroom.

“It’s been pretty good. Kids seem to be more relaxed in the classroom. [Shiloh] sleeps most of the time, so he doesn’t really impede instruction,” said Wylie.

Shiloh has been especially helpful for the students who struggle with mental health. Students have even been coming early to class.

“They don’t wait until the last minute,” Wylie says “petting him seems to soothe them and get them back to classroom mode.”

Shiloh has also helped Wylie’s life.

“[He] gives me a purpose. I get up in the morning with him. I go outside and walk.” Wylie said.

Although she knows she will miss him once he moves on, it helps her to know there are people who need Shiloh more.