Delta is a one-and-a-half-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog. She is a professional therapy dog and has the training of a service dog as well as passed a public access test. Delta was trained from the age of nine weeks to a little over a year old by CARES, Inc., a nonprofit organization in Kansas that trains dogs for a variety of professions.
This summer, Bettendorf Middle School Counselor Michelle Bruty, Teacher Librarian Deb Temperly, and Language Arts Teacher Jessica Blaum spent a week in Kansas, where they met Delta and received training on how to work with her. They had to pass a test to become certified handlers. When Delta is at school she is always supervised by one of them.
Delta splits her school day between the library, counseling office, and classroom. Sometimes she has appointments with individual students who read to her or have earned “Delta time” as a reward. Sometimes she provides emotional support for students having a rough time. She also hangs out in the classroom while students enjoy her calm presence and occasional playful antics (she hasn’t quite outgrown that puppy phase yet!). Delta is known for napping through class and staff meetings, but she is always ready to cuddle with anyone who needs a wagging tail to brighten their day.
The Bettendorf Middle School Parent Link, student fundraisers, the Bettendorf Community Schools Foundation, and Scott County Regional Authority helped fund the training and cost of acquiring Delta. Link to more pictures of Delta