Buster is just a puppy, but the rescued dog is already helping out in a big way. Four days a week Buster helps kids with autism.
Buster was rescued from Cleveland’s Animal Protective League by Christy Lapaglia, the directors of the CARES program at Mentor public schools in Mentor, Ohio. Buster is being trained to become a therapy dog. Last year the program had two therapy dogs that came in twice a month. The success the program had with those dogs led to Lapaglia adopting Buster to become the program’s very own therapy dog.
Four days a week buster is at the school helping the twenty-five students with autism that attend the CARES program. “We have students that are so motivated to do their work to get time to spend with Buster,” said Lapaglia. “Buster is also learning some commands, and the children are learning to use their language skills to give those commands.”
Alison Krema who is a speech and language pathologist with the program is already noticing the difference Buster is making in the students’ lives. “Some kids are just working on combining words with their language, so saying ‘Buster come’, putting two words together like that is a big deal for some of these kids,” said Krema.
Buster is only five-months old, and as he gets older and gets more training he’ll be able to help the kids in even more ways.