Grants Pass H.S adds emotional support dog to staff

GRANTS PASS, Ore. —A new member of Grants Pass High School is making a pawsitive impact on students and staff.

“She’s becoming infamous already and she’s just 5 months old,” said Special Education Teacher, Joanna Hotchkiss.

A beloved staff member at Grants Pass High School is changing lives, in return for treats and hugs. Meet Jewels, she’s the high school’s newest four-legged staff member. She is a 5-month-old black lab and the most popular classmate to Ms. Hotchkiss. Jewels is training in a special education classroom to provide emotional support to students throughout the year.

“She’s an amazing dog and honestly we love having her in class, it just makes a bunch of students happier to have her around,” said student Linzey Stange.

Jewels spends her days helping out students if they’re feeling down and has the ability to turn their whole day around.

Ms. Hotchkiss says having her around makes all the difference. ‘”Truly I can say without a shout of a doubt from the beginning of most school years, without her in the past, our level of anxiety as a staff with the disciplinary problems in class is way higher than what we’ve already seen this year.”

Denise Locke is the proud owner of Jewels and is the one training her. Walking around campus, she’s sure to catch the eye of many students

“It’s been more of an impact than I thought it would ever be, the kids at lunch they all come up, the gen-ed kids, can we pet Jewels, can we play with Jewels, it just seems to brighten their days,” said Locke.

She’s only been at the high school since the start of the school year but has already left a long-lasting impression on many.

“Ultimately she’s just going to become part of our natural classroom from here on out, I can’t imagine her not being here,” said Hotchkiss.

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Jenna King is the 6pm anchor and our Feature Reporter at 10pm and 11pm for NBC5 News. Jenna is a Burbank, CA native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at Oregon she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through her internship with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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