Meet Tinker: Glenview Middle School’s new therapy dog

EAST MOLINE, ILLINOIS  -- Tinker has a wagging tail and a wet nose. She is a five year old golden retriever. She just started working at Glenview Middle School as the new therapy dog.

"She' s got the little prance that she has when you`re walking down the hall, you just cant help but smile when you see her," Tinker's owner and Glenview Counselor, Shannon Harmon, said.

"We get angry and we don`t exactly know how to calm down," 7th grader Reina Teague said. "When we pet her, we instantly calm down. We don`t realize it, but we do. That's why we need Tinker."

The students have rules with Tinker, like asking before petting her and only letting adults give her commands.

"I feel like kids are a lot more trusting when they come in and there's a dog in here," Harmon said. "They just open up more, and I think they feel safer."

Pets and belly rubs do more than make Tinker feel good. They also help provide emotional support and help students learn coping skills.

"As they start petting her, their breathing slows down and their speech slows," Harmon said. "She has a calming presence about her that I don`t necessarily have."

Students have jobs when it comes to Tinker, like brushing her fur and filling up her water bowl.

"It helps them have some ownership at school and something to look forward to," Harmon said.

Tinker was Harmon's therapy dog while working at another school, so she was given to Glenview Middle School for free.

Right now, Tinker is only at the school every other day. They hope to have her walking the halls everyday soon.

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