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Thursday , 16 September 2021

HE Bourgoin welcomes cuddly new staff member

Image provided by Dani Angell. Maisie, the new wellness and therapy dog at HE Bourgoin school, rests at her handler Miss Angell’s office.

A new four-legged staff member has joined HE Bourgoin Middle School.

Maisie, a certified wellness and therapy dog, just began at the school.

Newly hired councillor at HE Bourgoin and Maisie’s handler, Dani Angell, said she’s passionate about wellness and Maisie fits right in with what the school is trying to accomplish.

“What she does here is support kids and not just kids – staff, parents come to see her,” said Angell.

“It’s something that many of us here at H.E. Bourgoin are passionate about. I was really lucky to have that comment from our principal and other faculty here, they believe in animal therapy and wellness animals and being able to connect with and support kids.”

Maisie, a CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) registered nine-year-old rough collie, comes in once a week into Angell’s office to provide connection to students and improving the atmosphere of wellness.

“What she does is provide that connection. She’s actually what you see right now [Maisie sitting], that’s what she does with kids. They get to have attention, they get to interact with her. There’s a multitude of studies that show time with animals decreases blood pressure, decreases anxiety, increases feeling with wellness and really that’s what we want here,” said Angell.

Studies have shown that assisted-therapy dogs can improve student’s confidence, enhanced relationships with peers, and improves students verbal and non-verbal communication.

“This is my first year at H.E. Bourgoin in my interview this summer – before I spent a day here, it was something I brought up as a passion of mine. It wasn’t in response to anything. I believe wellness dogs are a great part of any organization, I believe they have a place at any school. I don’t think it matters what school it was or what organization, they could interact with a wellness dog,” said Angell.

“Students who have booked in regularly, many of them love her and would say she contributes to the counselling relationship and the atmosphere in my office. As well during recess, lunch, and in the hallway, everyone stops by and says hi to her, people come by just to see her and pet her.”

On Maisie’s days off, she lives in Cherry Grove and keeps Angell’s two boys company, and coyotes off the property.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.