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Inside California Education: Service Dog in the Classroom


♪♪ Darin Peets: Considering
that I live in a wheelchair I have lived a pretty normal
life I guess you would say. You know my perspective
was, no life is not over you’re still here for a
purpose and you’re still here to do something. Sarah: At age seventeen
Darin Peets’ life changed suddenly and forever when he
broke his neck in a diving accident. To help Darin live a
more independent life, he has his service
dog Rex by his side. Darin: They’re
with you 24/7. ” Rex. Push. Good Boy.” Darin: Everyday
that I go work I take Rex with me. It’s Mr Peets and Rex,
We go hand in hand “Let’s go Rex.”
two peas in a pod. Darin: I teach at Del
Dayo Elementary School and I teach kindergarten. When I come on in, in the
morning and get everything all set up, if I’m… dropping
stuff on the ground, he’s there to help
me out “Rex. Step. Come
on you can do it. Up you go. Up you go. Good boy” Darin: He usually goes to his
bed … and he’s relaxing, just taking it easy until
reading time “Rex. Here. Good boy. Come on.” Darin: They love to sit
there and just share a book with him and Rex
will just sit there quietly and just listen to them. A dog is a great audience. He really encourages the
kids to get a book and read. Student: Monkey
See Monkey Do! Darin: For some of them,
that’s what they need. They just need someone to
listen to them and let them practice their reading
skills that they have so far. Student: (Laughs)
Look at that. Look at that Rexy.
Monkey up a tree. Monkey on the garden. Darin: For some of my kids, that connection you have with
animals you know really helps them
sometimes they’re just having a really bad day and
they’re really either sad or really upset. I will have them go and sit
next to Rex and they can pet him for a while until they
calm down ” Student: He’s so
cute and adorable. And I like to read to him.
Rex makes me feel good. Darin: unlike the pet at home, they can’t just interact
with him all the time it’s always in a
structured manner, so. When I have the leash
and he’s hooked up to me, then they know, “Okay, Mr Peets is the pack
leader, so we have to not even touch him.” And they’re
really good at that. They learn very quick. Sarah: Of course, it’s
not all work and no play. Darin: Recess time has been
a lot of fun with Rex just because he is so excited to
be out there with the kids Student: Watch out! Darin: What I really hope
they learn is that not to judge a book by its cover. “First word is what? Bog.” Darin: Quite a few of these
kids at first they’re afraid. They’re a little shy and a
little standoffish but then pretty soon they
understand that, I’m just like everyone else. “I can’t read it like that.” While I’m in the class, I
will definitely have a dog. He’s just part of the class
and for some with these kids he’s part
of their family. ” Hi Rexy!” “Oh my God!” Sarah: While Darin truly
believes that Rex enhances his students’ educational and
personal experience… at the end the school day,
he’s most grateful for having a service dog in
his own life. As well as a companion. “Come on Rex. Come
on, come on, come on!” DarI’m astonishedshed
at how much they do for you they’ve been trained so well
and they’re personality is such that it’s,
how can I help you? What can I do for you? I’m here for you
no matter what. ♪♪ Annc: It typically takes
1 to 2 years to train a service dog, depending on
the complexities of the tasks and whether the dog is
based in the home or working out in public. Some typical tasks
include picking up objects, opening and closing doors,
and even pulling manual wheelchairs.

About James Carlton

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