Act of Kindness Reconnects Students with Beloved DogApril 17, 2020
For Green Chimneys students who attend school on our Clearpool campus, this fuzzy face is quite familiar. Ivy, a friendly Goldendoodle, belongs to Green Chimneys Summer Camps Assistant Director Stacey Damiano and became an approved campus dog in 2018. Ivy is well known by both students and campers because she seeks human interaction and has a special way of knowing when a child can use some extra attention.
When the school closed in March because of Coronavirus mitigation, like many of us, Ivy had to adjust to a big shift in routine. Typically she would accompany Stacey to work, often greeting students at the school buses and meeting with students for one-on-one visits. As an active, social canine, being home has had its perks and setbacks. “There’s no question Ivy misses interacting with students,” explains Stacey. “Initially she seemed restless and confused by the lack of multiple human interactions that were part of her daily work and enrichment.”
Reconnecting Students with Beloved Canine
For Green Chimneys students, those who face social, emotional, and behavioral challenges, disruption to their school routine can be extremely difficult. Stacey and her family wanted students who are accustomed to spending time with Ivy to know they are remembered. One project Ivy’s family tackled right away was creating Ivy-themed stickers and word searches for all of the Clearpool campus students. With the help of her two older human “sisters,” more than 40 personalized notes from Ivy and Stacey were mailed to students. The result will melt your heart: students were so excited to hear from their furry friend that they wrote back!
“When we got the care package I burst into tears,” wrote student Bella. Sending Ivy and Stacey a photo of herself with Ivy in return, Bella closed the letter by saying “I don’t know what I would do without you both.”
Since the school closure, Ivy and her family have remained active. There have been plenty of walks and runs. To keep her engaged, Ivy’s learning new activities including playing catch with a frisbee. She’s also helped her humans take breaks and relax. Ivy and Stacey have even scheduled online meetings with students, too.
“Ivy loves spending time with students,” says Stacey, “And we can’t wait to see the kids again.”
Campus dogs are one in a number of ways Green Chimneys School students interact with animals and nature. Our philosophy is based on the belief that, if children are given a chance to explore and discover their inherent strengths in a safe and structured nature-based environment, their self-esteem, compassion, coping and social skills will improve. Learn more about our nature-based approach to therapeutic education