Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES News Article

Furry Visitors Always Welcome!

Student petting therapy dog with handler and Westview supervisor Nicole Littlewood

We live in a world of stress: both students and adults experience conflict and trauma every day in our neighborhoods, at home and at school. At Westview in the Department for Exceptional Children, the goal is to build bridges between people and create a safe, gentle environment where kindness can thrive and children can learn. To help achieve this, the school is welcoming some very special visitors – certified therapy dogs.

About once a month, Westview students and staff alike come together to share wet noses, furry cuddles and simple, non-judgmental love with new friends with names like Emmy, Twinkle and Sparkle. Even on the most difficult of days, these calm, canine souls can bring smiles and healing.

“It’s magical to see kids connecting so quickly and easily with an animal, when it may be so challenging for them to interact with other people,” said Westview Supervisor Nicole Littlewood. “There are tough days when our staff members benefit just as much as the kids do. The shared experience can bring students and staff together in new, unexpected and productive ways.”

The visiting therapy dogs come from RocDog (, a nonprofit that works with over 100 facilities around Rochester.
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