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Partners in Education: A companion students find comfort and a best friend in, Fenton, he's much more than a dog

Posted at 10:05 AM, May 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-17 13:27:32-04

DE PERE, Wis. — In a hectic day of a student's life, sometimes you need a best friend to calm your stress. At West De Pere High School, a canine companion brings a smile to many students who may be in need of some joy.

In Ms. Lenss's class, you can find some peace and clarity. Thanks to Fenton, a two-year-old assistance dog, the only one in Wisconsin working in a school.

"We've been together since August of this school year, so 2018 and he is incredible," said Laura Lenss, special education instructor.

Fenton isn't your average dog, from a puppy, he's been carefully trained to use his senses to serve students, from de-escalating anxiety, fears, to even knowing when someone is going to have a panic attack.

"He can provide sensory feedback, for our students with autism with sensory issues, and even provide mobility support," said Lenss, Fenton also picks up items off the floor, can pull open a drawer, and even hold open a book for you to read.

However, at the end of the day, Fenton gets to relax and be a dog.

"Everyday, I will take him off duty at my home and sometimes at the courtyard here at school. He can run faster than any dog I've ever seen," said Lenss.

Junior Bailee Elbee recalls when she had a panic attack in the middle of a hectic school day, "He put his head on my chest, and then he put more pressure on it to help my anxiety and my stress go down, immediately it went down and I started crying."

Stories like this are not uncommon, student Brenna Stark is comforted knowing Fenton will always be there for her.

As the saying goes, dogs know how to fix you without ever saying a word.

For more information on canine companions, click here.