Walter the Therapy Dog Brightens Barnum Elementary

Baihly Warfield
Updated: May 31, 2019 06:50 PM

As the school year wraps up for many Northland districts, one elementary is reflecting on how their new classmate Walter has brightened the halls. 

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At 2 years old, Walter is pretty new to art class and recess. But the golden retriever might be the most popular kid at Barnum Elementary School. 

"I thought it was kind of awesome because you've never heard of a dog in school before," Ruth Dinger, 4th grade, said.

He started going to school back in November. His mom, Nikki Kresky, is the school counselor.

"He just knows," she said. "He was made for this."

Walter is a therapy dog. Kresky says he is really good at his job and makes hers easier too.

"He is able to stop a child's tears in record time," Kresky said. "It's really hard to be upset when you have a dog licking your face."

Dinger and another 4th grader, Aubrie Wright, say Walter has a calming effect.

"I've had an experience where I come in Mrs. Kresky's room and get upset, and then when I started getting upset, Walter knew. And he came to my rescue," Dinger said.

She said Walter came and put his face on her leg, and she instantly felt better and more calm.

"It brings a lot of people together, and it helps a lot of people with their problems," Wright said.

Kids struggling with literacy can practice reading to Walter, and he can lend a non-judgmental ear on a bad day.

"They can talk to me, or they can tell Walter what's going on," Kresky said. "A lot of times, kids don't need somebody to talk back. They just need us to listen."

He's there to listen and to teach a lesson in unconditional love.

"The kids will tell you that he is here just to make kids happy," Kresky said.

"He sees everyone, and he always smiles," Wright said, "so it makes everyone else smile."


Baihly Warfield

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