Excellence in Education: Nutmeg, the therapy dog

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 4:35 PM EDT
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CLARKSBURG, W.Va (WDTV) - In this week’s Excellence in Education report sponsored by Davis & Elkins College, we are highlighting a furry friend making a special difference for students in Harrison County.

Nutmeg is a six-year-old pug who brings smiles and hugs to Victory Elementary School.

She has been a therapy dog for the school since May 2022, and her owner and clinical therapist, Felicia Turner, says her friendliness is what made her want to get Nutmeg certified.

“She brings joy to everybody,” Turner said. “She’s never met a stranger, so I thought if I get my own dog certified, then I can use her in the school and see how she does with kids. The kids love her here. I don’t think there’s one here that doesn’t love her or want to love on her, and she’s the same.”

Nutmeg and Felicia have a routine they complete every morning, and it starts in her favorite place, the office.

“We make our rounds in the morning. We start in the office, and then we go to first grade, and then to kindergarten, then to first grade. Some of the teachers have snacks for her, so she’ll be pulling me down to second grade. Then we’ll go to the third grade, and she’ll get her snacks from there. She’s adjusting well,” Turner said.

Nutmeg is trained in deep pressure therapy, meaning she provides comfort to students with gently stimulation on their chest or feet.

“We do classroom visitation. She is on call too, like if a student is in crisis mode or having a meltdown or outburst, we meet one on one with kids. They can utilize her any way that they want. She can sit on them, or they can lay on the floor with her, anything they want,” Turner said.