"Paw"some Therapy / Support Dogs
The Oelwein Community School District along with PAWSitively Oelwein, a not-for-profit organization, have teamed up to provide comfort dogs for the school district and community to enhance engagement, support, and additional resource to help meet the needs of all students and their successes.
The normal sights and sounds of a busy school building are centered on students, staff, and academics. We are proud to also support our four-legged friends as comfort dogs within the school district. Comfort dogs bring a strong engagement component to support and assist students and staff who may be struggling with issues such as stress, anxiety, anger, sadness, loss, and low self-esteem.
The comfort dogs provide many benefits to include:
- Physical benefits. Interaction with therapy dogs has been shown to reduce blood pressure, provide physical stimulation and assist with pain management.
- Social benefits. A visiting therapy dog promotes increasing positive self-esteem and interaction with other students and teachers.
- Cognitive benefits. Research has proven that therapy dogs stimulate memory and problem-solving skills.
- Emotional and mental health benefits. A therapy dog can lift moods in the classroom, often provoking laughter and kindness. The therapy dog is also there to offer friendship and a shoulder to lean on for students.
Currently, we have comfort dogs at Wings Park Elementary, Oelwein Middle School, and the High School. Their owners are employees of the Oelwein School district and have met the contractual and national requirements to be certified comfort dogs in the community.
Be sure to check out the Oelwein Schools Service Dogs YouTube video!
Meet the Dogs
Baxter | Middle School
Jacklyn Letzring | Human | Email
Baxter is a 9-month-old miniature Parti Schnauzer. He loves playing fetch and going on long walks! If Baxter is not busy working at school, he is at home stealing socks and sleeping.
Daisy | Wings Park Elementary
Tera Sperfslage | Human | Email
Daisy is a 3 year old Malshi (Maltese and Shih Tzu). Most people think that she is still a puppy, as she only weighs 9 pounds and is full grown. Daisy was named after the dog in the movie, "Wonder." Daisy loves going for car rides, going to watch the Huskies play baseball in the summer and working with the students at Wings Park/ Parkside Elementary schools. Daisy is known for giving her kisses and running fast in the hallways.
DJ | Wings Park Elementary
Emily Woods | Human | Email
DJ is a Minnautre Schnauzer. DJ loves to go on walks with his brother, Mugsley, as well as going on car rides. DJ also enjoys baby vanilla cones from Dairy Queen and getting his belly rubbed. DJ is short for Domino Jean.
Ellie | High School
Derek Kuennen | Human | Email
Ellie is a 4-year-old half Labrador, half Chesapeake Bay Retriever. She spends her time at school with Kindergarten and High school students. When she isn't at school she enjoys hunting pheasants, going for runs/walks, and playing fetch.
Murray | High School
Sheryl Nading | Human | Email
Murray is a 7 year old GoldenDoodle. His human is 2006 Alumni, Dustin Nading and his handler is Sheryl Nading. He mainly hangs out in the High School office but he also likes to go visit classrooms in the High School. In his spare time he likes to destroy dog toys and eat dog treats. Murray has a 5 year old human sister, Melody.
Mya | Middle School
Chet Reagan | Human | Email
Mya is a female adult Goldendoodle who was born in 2016. She had her sole litter of pups with Boomer (Goldendoodle) in the fall of 2018. She is owned by Talon Reagan and her primary handler is Mr. Reagan. Besides getting attention from OMS students, Mya enjoys running (for no particular reason at all) and spending time with her fur-sister Stella.
Pepper | Sacred Heart
Ashley Kuennen | Human | Email
Pepper is a Lab-Australian Heeler mix. She just turned 1 year old on November 1st! When she is at home, she loves to play with her sister Lizzie and her cat brothers Pursian and Fluff. She also loves to cuddle, take naps, and play with her stuffed animals. Pepper is shy at first, but will love you forever if you give her a treat! When Pepper is not at school, she goes to the shop with her dad to work on snowmobiles and four-wheelers
Ruby | Wings Park Elementary
Barb Schmitz | Human | Email
Ruby is a Havapoo (Havanese Poodle). Ruby does not shed and really enjoys treats. Ruby weighs 12 pounds and LOVES to run around and play fetch. Ruby is almost 2 years old. Ruby looks forward to coming to Wings Park and seeing her friends. The students at Wings Park are all kind and look forward to seeing Ruby
Winnie | Elementary & High School
Patti Kuennen | Human | Email
Winnie is a bi-eyed Siberian Husky. She was born on May 3, 2019. She loves coming to school and getting and giving attention to all of the students. Winnie enjoys going for runs and playing with her doggy friends at the dog park. You can find her laying in a pile of snow in the winter, or lounging in the sun during the summer. Winnie has a "beautiful" singing voice. When she gets really excited, look out for her "zoomies" around the yard or even in the house! The students are always excited when they see "a real live husky!"