Celebrating 100th Shelter Dog to “Graduate” from Green Chimneys

June 7, 2017

Cue “Pomp & Circumstance” and prepare yourself for a most wonderful graduation strut.

In the sea of moving up ceremonies, graduations and other commemorations for humans, an unusual celebration involving furry friends has Green Chimneys feeling quite proud.

Meet Shelby, a one-year-old lab mix originally from Arkansas. Shelby is also the 100th shelter dog to graduate from the Green Chimneys Dog Interaction Program! Like the 99 canines before her, Shelby came to us through a partnership with Animals for Adoption, spending 6 weeks living and learning on our Brewster campus.

Why bring shelter dogs to a school?

Launched in 2014, the Dog Interaction Program provides Green Chimneys School students a range of opportunities to help shelter dogs build skills which make the canines more adoptable. An initiative developed by Green Chimneys Farm Manager Maureen Doherty, the benefits of the program aren’t one sided: students are learning and growing alongside shelter dogs.

“We know the tremendous benefits animal-assisted activities have on children, especially those learning to cope with social, emotional and behavioral issues,” says Maureen. “Creating ways for kids to not only connect with these dogs—but to help them—is so rewarding for our students.”

During their stint at Green Chimneys, shelter dogs are socialized; learning commands and participating in agility activities led by our students. And the dogs have helped students in a variety of ways too – from lending an ear as children practice reading aloud to spending time in classrooms to participating in sessions with social workers and lounging in student dorms.

“The Dog Interaction Program at Green Chimneys is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done,” explains Jane Kopelman, owner of Animals for Adoption. “Seeing the relationship between the children and the shelter dogs is amazing.”

As we celebrate Shelby and the program’s accomplishments, we’re filled with gratitude to our partner, Animals for Adoption, as well as to our students, staff and donors who have assured this success.

Learn more about the dog interaction program

Celebrating Green Chimneys' 100th Canine Grad