We are a group of teachers, counselors, and schools benefiting from therapy dogs trained and provided through Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence (ADAI), a program of The Ability Center. We witness every day the gifts these dogs bring to our work, our students, and our schools. We are behind this website and project. For more on us and our stories, please visit our Allie Project Consortium page.
To understand the impetus behind this endeavor, a story:
This is Allie.
Like many of the best stories, Allie’s story begins with a gift of love.
The gift brought comfort, love, joy, and friendship to thousands.
To this day, the gift of love continues to ripple outward ...
The Gift of Love
This is Bill.
After his stroke, he and his wife, Barb were encouraged by their son to consider adding a Therapy Dog to the family.
Allie became Bill’s friend and companion for over two years.
“Allie brightened Bill’s life.” Barb would often say. “She always took away his depression.”
When Bill passed, Allie was five.
Both he and Barb felt she had more yet to do with her life; more Love to give.
They gifted her back to Assistance Dogs and, at a Christmas assembly in 2004, she became part of the Bryan City School District family, where she served the students and district until her retirement in June of 2011.
The Allie Project is born out of honor and respect for Allie’s life, spirit, and contribution.
What Sets the Allie Project Apart?
While The Allie Project values the work and successes of the many wonderful people who own their therapy dogs and make regular trips to schools, we differ from them in one significant, philosophical way:
We believe the ownership of a therapy dog belongs not with an individual outside of the school district, but with the school district, and with its children. The dog doesn’t just visit the school. He or she is there every day, as part of the school family.
Intrinsic to this belief, is the notion EACH and EVERY CHILD owns the School Therapy Dog. Fostering a sense of ownership and pride in the students; encouraging them to care for and learn about the school's dog and its purpose, is central to the curriculum.
Even parents and community members are encouraged to “own” the therapy dog. The dog, just by being present, builds community and breaks down barriers. Dog energy ripples outward and everyone benefits, including the therapy dog.
“OUR dog is wonderful, and she belongs to ALL OF US!”
The Story of Magic
As a powerful example of the impact a school therapy dog can have on a community, we offer the story of Magic:
This is Magic.
Magic served as the therapy dog for Tiffin Schools from 2006 until his untimely death from
an enlarged heart in 2011.
A remembrance service was held for Magic in the school gymnasium.
Over 400 people attended.
The funeral home coordinating the event said it was one of the largest visitation events anyone could remember in the history of Tiffin.
For a DOG!
The Power and Potential of a Therapy Dog.
The Allie Project hopes to encourage and support this power and potential in all therapy dogs.
Suzanne Reinhart, who brought Magic and Tiffin together, is one of the wonderful members of the consortium of education professionals who came together to create this Allie Project. To meet the others, if you haven't already, please visit The Allie Project Consortium page.