Rufus the Cane Corso has become a beloved working dog at Elk Meadow Elementary School in Bend, Oregon. He’s a two-year-old purebred Mastiff who’s trained as a therapy dog and helps students with reading and other activities. He may be a large dog, but Rufus is incredibly gentle and loves nothing more than spending time with the children.
Rufus is part of the Reading Education Assistance Dogs (READ) program, which aims to improve children’s literacy skills by providing them with a non-judgmental listener. Research has shown that children who read to dogs exhibit an increase in reading skills, comprehension, and fluency. This program is incredibly important for students who may be struggling with reading or who need some extra encouragement to develop their skills.
Rufus is not just a reading buddy, but he’s also an emotional support animal. His calming presence has a positive impact on the students and staff at Elk Meadow Elementary School. According to Principal Lisa Greenberg, “Rufus is so calm and patient, and he has a wonderful temperament. He is already making a difference in the lives of our students, and we are thrilled to have him as part of our school community.”
Many students look forward to their weekly sessions with Rufus, where they can read to him and snuggle with him. These interactions provide a much-needed break from the stresses of school and life in general. Rufus’s presence helps to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment at Elk Meadow Elementary School.
Rufus is not the only therapy dog at the school. He’s part of a team of therapy dogs who participate in the READ program, and they all have different personalities and strengths. The program has been incredibly successful in many schools across the US, and it’s wonderful to see more schools adopting it.
It’s clear that Rufus has made a significant impact on the students and staff at Elk Meadow Elementary School. His friendly and calm demeanor has won the hearts of everyone he meets, and he’s a great example of how animals can make a positive impact on our lives. We need more programs like READ and more dogs like Rufus to create a better and more inclusive world for everyone.
In the end, the Mastiff’s unexpected role as a working dog at the primary school showed that sometimes the most extraordinary opportunities come in unlikely packages. Its gentle and loving nature brought comfort, joy, and valuable life lessons to the young students, reminding everyone of the transformative power that animals can have in our lives.
As the days passed, the Mastiff continued to embody its unique role, touching the hearts of all those who crossed its path. It served as a reminder that sometimes, a simple act of kindness and the presence of a compassionate companion can make a world of difference, even in a primary school setting.