Pilot program at Hillsboro School includes companion dog

Hillsboro companion dog Maura
Hillsboro companion dog Maura(Valley News Live)
Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 9:33 AM CST
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HILLSBORO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - North Dakota Senator John Hoeven met with Hillsboro High School staff to review the school’s special pilot program, which includes a companion animal in the classroom.

Agriculture Education Teacher Levi Reese got golden retriever Maura trained as a therapy dog and has been bringing her to school five days a week for about a year. School officials say they’ve seen a lot of positives, and the senator was impressed with the idea as well.

“This is something you’re going to see more of, not less of, “ said Sen. John Hoeven. “I think this is a really creative, innovative idea. One of the things they want to do is share that so other schools can look at that and maybe try this program, or try to come up with some other innovative program, thinking outside the box to respond to the challenges we have today, whether you’re a young person or someone who’s older.”

The school district established the program as a model for providing greater behavioral health support for North Dakota students. The Hillsboro School Board approved the idea back in 2021.

Maura is so popular in Hillsboro, she even has her own Instagram account: maura.goldenrdog.