Willow Poodle offers support to students


Willow Poodle works with counselor Nancy Doubrava.

Grace Dillard, Staff Writer

   Therapy dogs have come to Nixa High school. Therapy dogs help people overcome a variety of things people face. Nancy Doubrava, is the owner of therapy dog, Willow Poodle, and is a counselor at Nixa High School. 

   She said she loves taking her dog to school every day. 

   “Taking your dog to school every day is a lot of fun but also a lot of work,” Doubrava said. “But the joy that she brings throughout the whole school is worth every bit of it.” 

  Although therapy dogs help around a lot at NHS, Doubrava said there can be challenges with having a dog by one’s side every day. 

   “It comes with a lot of responsibilities,” Doubrava said. “I have to be very aware of Willow – I have to be aware of her attitude of the day because sometimes she’s not in a good mood, or I have to be aware of when to take her outside or what she may or may not like. Although,  it does get kind of lonely when she’s getting her hair done. It’s lonely because I’m always waiting for her to follow me.” 

   Becoming the owner of a therapy dog is not as easy as getting a normal dog. There are many steps taken before  getting a therapy dog. 

   More specifically, there are guidelines to owning a therapy dog. One has to be friendly and patient while training the therapy dog. One also has to be gentle when handling therapy dogs.   A common misconception is that therapy dogs and emotional support dogs are the same, when really there is quite a difference. Emotional support dogs aren’t trained the way therapy dogs are. Emotional support dogs  aren’t trained to get things for the owners who may have health conditions. An emotional support dog’s presence is what helps the owner feel calmer.  

  Willow Poodle can be found in Doubrava’s office and is available to people who could use a bit of de-stress time.