This school year, Lake Shore High School has acquired a new faculty member. Ladies and Gentlemen, on behalf of the Lake Shore community, The Shoreline presents to you Amber the therapy dog.
Amber is a fourteen year old rescue pup whose name derives from the coloring of her luscious locks. Owned by Lake Shore’s very own librarian, Jodi Kleymeer, since September 9, 2005, Kleymeer states that “I’ve always thought Amber would make a fabulous therapy dog, but my other dog was not therapy dog material. I didn’t want to separate the two, but this past July my Kacie passed away. Amber was very depressed (still has moments where she struggles with it), and I felt like giving her a new purpose to do something she has always done naturally: provide emotional assistance and unconditional love to her human counterparts.”
Despite still mourning the passing of her best furry companion, Kleymeer can confirm that Amber has made many friends, “Many students and staff come see her not only daily, but multiple times a day.” According to Kleymeer, “Mrs. Todaro, Mrs. Bednarski, Mrs. Blaszkowski (video production), Mr.Carney and Miss Johnston [have utilized Amber the most].”
Amber has many quirks, Kleymeer explains, “Oh goodness. She is full of personality. Her eyebrows are very expressive. She is old so she doesn’t stand for very long and will just plop down to reveal her belly. She’ll let you know when you are done petting her by sitting on your feet, grabbing your arm, or putting her head on you.”
Kleymeer wholeheartedly believes that having therapy dogs, including Amber, in schools will be beneficial. She quotes a 2015 SHR Pet Therapy Program article to prove her point, “…that incorporating the therapy dog into the counselling session helps to create a comfortable setting that may have a calming effect for clients. The literature supports that the integration of an animal into therapy promotes a nurturing and safe environment for clients. Further, it specifically shares that an animal can instill relief from stress.” She continues by adding, “While students are not actually in a counseling session when they visit Amber, the effects are the same. Overwhelmingly, students and staff who visit her regularly profess feeling better.” Megan Degeer, senior, agrees saying “I love the idea of having something to comfort students and I do think having a therapy dog will be beneficial.” Katelyn Csernyant, senior, also believes in the power of a pup, saying, “Dogs cure everything.”
Kleymeer confesses that Amber does love her new job saying, “Amber loves coming to school, getting all the pets, visiting classrooms, cuddling with readers, and going for short walks!” Csernyant claims that having Amber at school is the “best thing to happen to Lake Shore and she makes me feel ten times more happy about coming to school.”
It’s no surprise that Amber has become a celebrity here at Lake Shore, with staff and students stopping by the library regularly just to see her angelic face and wet nose. The Shoreline staff wishes Amber the best of luck with her new career here at Lake Shore, and plans on visiting her regularly.