GHS welcomes new therapy dog Sophie


Jack Titzer, Sports Editor

Sophie, a 10-year-old golden retriever, is GHS’s newest therapist

Sophie’s owners, Mrs. Jenny and Mr. Brian Ford explain why they decided to make Sophie a certified therapy dog.

“When Sophie was a puppy, I took her to a trainer for basic obedience. One day the trainer asked if I had ever thought of making her into a therapy dog. At that time, I had no idea what that meant so he provided me with more information. I thought it would be cool but hadn’t looked into it any further. A few months later, Sophie was almost kicked out of her pet resort because she would not come when she was called. I was then put in contact with another trainer who actually did therapy dog training. At that point, I felt it was meant to be. After completing a six-week course, Sophie and I took a test, and we were certified by Therapy Dog International,” Mrs. Ford said.

Students who experience anxiety or are under a lot of stress may need something furry to help the\m express their feelings and relax.

“We have been looking at using a therapy dog for a while now because people usually like dogs and it is just something that we can use if a student has high anxiety or just needs to take a minute to calm down. Sophie is very caring and loving and having her here at GHS just makes students feel good and makes them more comfortable at school when there’s a very caring creature like a dog with them,” Mrs. Samantha Young, Student Service Advisor said. 

In the short time Sophie has been coming to School she has already impacted a lot of students.

“Some of the best experiences that I have had with Sophie at school is watching kids that would not normally be comfortable reading to her out loud. There was also a day when a friend was having a really bad day and was in the office. When Sophie went in to visit with this friend, they calmed down within a couple of minutes of petting Soph, but within 15 minutes, they were skipping back to class,” Mrs. Ford said.

Mrs. Ford also shared her favorite part of having a therapy dog.  

“My favorite part is the pure joy that Sophie gives to the people she comes into contact with. I feel like during the visit, everyone’s bucket gets filled, including ours. Another one of my favorite parts is seeing people who usually do not like dogs start petting her and get more and more comfortable around her and relieve their anxiety,” She said. 

When it comes to being a therapy dog, Sophie has plenty of experience.

“Sophie has been a therapy dog for a little over eight years and just recently turned 10 on Dec. 9. Sophie has helped a wide range of people with everything from medical conditions, anxiety, and depression. She has helped people who are in the hospital, nursing homes, and other schools,” Mrs. Ford said. 

Mrs. Young also talked about the impact she has seen Sophie have in just two visits here at GHS.

“When Sophie comes in, we just let her owner, Mrs. Ford, take over, and she does everything and walks her around. When I have seen Sophie interact with students, you can tell how comfortable the students feel around her and how much of an impact she has made in such a short time. Petting her really just seems to help the kids open up and talk to others and express their emotions,” she said.