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Dog is Orange Park Teacher's Classroom Helper

7:06 AM, Oct 4, 2011   |    comments
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ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- An Argyle Elementary teacher is using a furry friend to keep kindergartners focused on learning.

Angel is Terry Runte's special assistant of four years, and she earns her place at Argyle Elementary.

"It's not just bringing a pet to work," Runte explains.

The hypoallergenic pup's full-time job started with visits.

"I started seeing amazing things happen," Runte recalled, like crayons in their cups instead of on the floor. "Because I said, you can't leave them down there, she'll eat them! So they started picking them up. And if the children would run in the room, she would bark [and I'd tell them], 'Ah ha! She got you!'"

Runte saw her students respond to Angel. They enjoyed reading to her and writing letters to her when she wasn't visiting.

The veteran teacher knew the relationship was something special and quickly took the next step: getting Angel certified as a R.E.A.D. Program Reading Education Assistance Dog.

"It gives the children the chance to sit with an animal and read to them without any fear of being made fun of or making mistakes," Runte said.

But Angel's most important job is getting the kids excited to come to school and learn so Ms. Runte can fill their minds with knowledge.

First Coast News