EATON — Preble County Educational Service Center (ESC) Alternative School Guidance Counselor Brent Krumdiack is trying to bring a service dog into the school with him. He was been working with Assistant to the Superintendent Shawn Hoff to get approval for an Animal Assisted Therapy program.
Krumdiack brought his dog to the ESC meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 22, to present his proposed program to the board.
He began by sharing his research with the board. He has spent three years researching the pros and cons of the program and how to make it a success. To be more fiscally conservative, Krumdiack chose to pursue the training for the program with his own dog — Oakley — instead of purchasing a therapy dog, which can be an expensive venture.
Oakley is a rescue and does have some quirks because of it — he is shy and does not like loud noise or fighting. These personality traits will be explained to the children and is another way for them to relate to the dog. He has a traumatic back story, and so do many of them.
A dog in therapy is way to get the kids interested in therapy, but it is also a way to get them to relate to another creature and to see themselves in the dog. Oakley will demonstrate positive traits — loyalty, kindness, self control, and compassion to name a few — and the kids will see that they too are capable of those traits.
Oakley will also be a party who does not judge the kids — they can talk to the dog freely and read to it freely without fear of reprimand.
As for how the idea of the program came to be, Krumdiack explained, he learned of Animal Assisted Therapy when he was seeking his degrees and had been interested ever since. When he interviewed for the job with ESC, he shared this program with Hoff, who was also interested.
Krumdiack was given the approval to start planning, training, and researching.
During his research, he visited Triangle Therapy and spoke to Margie Benge, who recommended him to Dogtors University. He began his training with them in March of this year. After six weeks, they took a written exam and had to run through a simulated hospital visit. Finally, Oakley had to pass the K9 Good Citizen Test. He passed all his tests and graduated from the program on May 20.
Krumdiack is waiting for approval from PC ESC’s attorney before moving forward. Once they receive that approval, then they will come back to the board for official approval, but the board members were receptive to the idea.
During the Superintendent’s Report, Mike Gray shared, Senate Bill 216 — the Enact Public School Deregulation Act for primary/secondary ed-testing — had passed, but not all of the provisions the school was excited about had made it to approval.
“We had tried to make it so excused absences are not a part of your absences, because it should just be unexcused absences that count against you. They took that provision out at the last minute. Everything else in SB 216 is very helpful to us,” Gray said.
Preble County ESC will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 26, at 5:30 p.m. at the Educational Service Center.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH