Troy Heritage Trail Students Read to Comfort Dogs


Last updated 8/27/2023 at 1:15pm

Second-grade students in teacher Melissa Lundy's Troy Heritage Trail Elementary School classroom read to comfort dog Nigel, with his handler U.S. Army veteran James Morrison and LCC K-9 military ministry dog program representative marta rees.

Troy Heritage Trail Elementary School second-graders delighted in reading books to comfort dogs Nigel and Brutus this month. The students took turns reading and petting and hugging the friendly golden retrievers as their handlers sat nearand answered questions the students had.

Teacher Melissa Lundy has hosted the program for several years, beginning when she taught first grade at H.T. She then brought it to second graders when she transferred grade levels this year. The dogs visit the classrooms once a month.

They make reading fun, Lundy said, and give a helping hand to those students who are a little more reluctant to read aloud. They have a calming effect, too, she added. "The dogs give comfort, love and support to the students," she said. "Nigel's been part of my class and our class pet for four years. Having him here just makes us all happy."

Nigel's handler James Morrison is a U.S. Army Security Agency veteran who served as a German translator. Brutus' handler Gene Weisbecker is

a U.S. Navy veteran who served on a submarine.

The Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Military Ministry dog program currently has over 130 K-9 comfort dogs serving in more than 27 states.

A spokesperson for the organization said its comfort dogs are good listeners, non-judgmental and confidential.

Troy Heritage Trail Elementary School is a Troy Community School District 30-C school.


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