South Elementary students, staff celebrate comfort dog’s 3rd birthday

GRANDVILLE, Mich. -- An elementary school in Grandville held a special birthday celebration recently -- but not for a student or a teacher.

South Elementary's resident comfort dog, CC, turned 3 years old last week, and students and staff helped her celebrate in a big way Friday.

As part of the celebration, students shared the day with CC, writing short stories about her, reading books about her, singing to her and making blankets for shelter dogs and toys for Paws with a Cause puppies.

Over the past few weeks, the golden retriever-lab mix has spent time meeting and reading with students, and Principal Darla England says she's already having a major impact.

"Last year, we as a staff said, 'How can we make sure we are meeting all the needs of students?' And then we started researching the effects, the positive benefits of a comfort dog," England said. "I think the benefits for any student in our building are extensive -- not just students that are working on self regulation or de-escalation, but students who just need a friend or someone to share the positive things that are happening at school with."

England says the school got CC through a grant, which is also covering the costs of her training. Local businesses have stepped up to provide support, as well.

CC became a permanent staff member at South Elementary back on Oct. 21.

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