Meet Max. He's working hard to be the next therapy dog at Tilton school.

The House Of The Good Shepherd started their therapy dog program with a golden retriever named Charlotte last year, but her owner transitioned to another program within the agency. It was apparent the therapy dog program needed to continue as it improved the culture for both students and staff. Enter Max.

Max attends Canine Sports Unlimited in Whitesboro, for obedience training with Laura Yaghy. After receiving his Canine Good Citizen Certificate, he'll continue with additional training to pass the TDI test and become a certified therapy dog.

Max goes to Tilton school a few days a week to become acclimated to the environment and socialize. Weekly training is held at the school with a dog handling committee to ensure consistency. Max is currently used during individual therapy sessions and to support with managing the emotional needs of the students.

The program structure at Tilton School follows teachings by School Social Worker Catherine Richetti, LCSW-R, and author of “Dogs in School: Creating a Dog Program in your School.” There is evidence-based research that supports dog therapy programs and the effect they have on the learning process and emotional regulation. Not a bad thing for any environment, right?

We'll show you more of Max in coming weeks so keep it tuned!