Telegram & Gazette: Assistance Dog J.D. brightens every day at this Central Mass. high school

Jeff A. Chamer, Worcester Telegram & Gazette: One of Tantasqua Regional Senior High School’s most popular staff members is known for his ability to provide a comforting pres­ence in times of distress – and for tak­ing treats when he’s a good boy.

It’s J.D., a 5-year-old black lab who regularly walks around the school building and visits classrooms with assistant principal Beth Johnson, his owner and handler.

“It has been a giant love affair be­tween every staff member and student that J.D. has ever met,” Johnson said. “He makes a world of difference for some kids – he really turns their day around and, for a lot of kids, he is the reason that they come to school or can get through the whole school day.”

Whether it’s the first thing in the morning as students arrive, a random walk through the building or lunchroom, or popping into counseling ses­sions to help students, Johnson has been sure to make J.D. as accessible to students as possible throughout the day.

One of J.D.’s most frequent visitors -and, Johnson said, the president of his fan club – is Alexis Buteau, a senior. Buteau said she typically makes it a point to see J.D. at least once per school day.

“He’s very comforting and he knows all of these adorable tricks,” Buteau said. Continue reading…