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Forest Area, WCSD work out therapy dog agreement

By any measure, the Warren County School District’s therapy dog program has been a success.

But what happens when one of the handlers takes a different job in another district?

In the case of Hero, one of the district’s five therapy dogs, they go too.

The school board on Monday approved an agreement with the Forest Area School District to sell the dog for $5,000.

“So we looked at this both ways,” Superintendent Gary Weber told the board.

The dog is technically owned by the district but, on the other hand, the handler “has the most time invested in the animal,” he said.

Ultimately, the administrative recommendation was made in the best interest of Hero, with Weber saying they “didn’t think it was fair” to Hero to shift to another handler.

“This is the only time it’s come up,” he added. “Hopefully we don’t go through this again. The therapy dogs really are funded and supported by the community. The investment is from the community. That investment stops the minute the dog leaves.”

District officials have started looking into potentially replacing Hero and developing a plan for the fall.

The situation is complicated by the employment situation of the handler.

“One of our dogs is with a Sheriff’s deputy,” Weber said. “It’s easy for him to go around to the other buildings. If (the handler) is a teacher, there is no way she can leave to go to another building.”

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