Buckles joined the Schoharie
Central School staff on July 2. He is a social therapeutic classroom
assistance dog awarded to our school after we received the most votes in
the 2012 Samsung Solve for Tomorrow grant competition. He's wearing his
training vest in the photo at left. Now a proud graduate, he wears a red
vest when working.
Barks from Buckles
May 21, 2013
Today is school budget voting day. I encourage all the people to
participate in voting. Unfortunately, I, as a canine, cannot.
April 12, 2013
Even hard-working social therapeutic classroom dogs take a break every
now and then. I've been busy these past few weeks visiting with
children, shaking paws with staff and spending time with students from
both the Elementary and High School.
March 7, 2013
I have a lot of visitors here at Schoharie School! And I am very popular
with staff as well.
February 14, 2013
Happy Valentine's Day! I can't eat chocolate, but I loved the valentine
the children made for me. One of them told me, "Buckles is awesome
because he is fun to play with. I like to visit Buckles at the end of
January 30, 2013
I recently celebrated my second birthday with some of my friends from
Schoharie Elementary School!
January 10, 2013
I'm an active dog and love to play in the snow during recess. Students
sometimes take me for walks outside as a reward for their good
schoolwork and behavior.
January 4, 2013
Mary Sherman visited Mrs. O'Brien's first grade class as a guest reader,
and I got to participate (by listening; I didn't bring a book!). The
Guest Reader program helps Schoharie Elementary students learn to read
and understand stories and promotes an early love of books.
December 13, 2012
Dru Elizabeth Rockhill stopped by on Dec. 11 to visit her dad, Assistant
Principal and Athletic Director Jamie Rockhill, and I just had to tell
her all about my job at school. Since she has a dog at home, I also knew
she'd appreciate a kiss.
Listen and learn: I'm listening closely as a student reads during a 5th
grade class. As a service dog, good listening skills are a very
important part of my job. Now if I could only read books . . .
November 18, 2012
NEADS Graduation: I completed my service dog training earlier this year
National Education for Assistance Dogs (NEADS) organization in
Massachusetts, and on Nov. 18, I took part in a formal graduation
ceremony there with Ms. Nevulis. It was inspiring, as many people were
part of my education and helped me to be successful.
I also met my younger sister there. We both have the same father, named
Jackson. She is in training at NEADS, so I gave her some pointers
(information, that is, not dogs).
November 15, 2012
I'm busy helping children learn lots of things, including how to be good
students, good listeners and good friends. It's a great job!
November 8, 2012
Was I ever that small? I think this visitor was even too young for
I'm thinking of joining the boys modified soccer team.
October 11, 2012
"Chelsea Visits Buckles" - By Chelsea and Mrs. Borst
Chelsea had a great day so she earned time with Buckles. Mrs.
Francis and Chelsea went to Mrs. Nevulis' office
to pet Buckles. Buckles was sleeping. Chelsea said, "Hello Buckles, how
are you doing?" Buckles woke up and walked
over to Chelsea. Buckles has a quiet mouth. He did not bark at Chelsea.
Buckles had quiet paws. He did not touch
Chelsea until Chelsea asked him to shake. Chelsea likes to visit Buckles
and his quiet mouth and paws. The End.
October 4, 2012
I was the subject of some more essays by Schoharie
Elementary students, who were asked to write about pets:
"I pet Buckles. He is soft. We can play with
him. And Buckles does tricks." - Joseph
"Buckles is funny. He does tricks. When I say up he hugs me." -
September 27, 2012:
had a fun visit with Emma, who's in third grade at Schoharie Elementary,
and Mrs. Smithgall, a teaching assistant. Emma wrote this short essay
about me, using a neat tool called a Perkins Braille Writer:
"Buckles is a dog. He is very soft and fuzzy. We
took him for a walk. He likes walks because when we came out of the
school his tail was wagging. Buckles likes to smell the grass. He is
very friendly because he lets everybody pet him."
September 22, 2012:
I made many new friends at the Great American Pet
Festival in Clifton Park today, where I represented NEADS along with New
York State NEADS representative Lee Sheldon and her pet, Honor. I
enjoyed playing with Honor and was very interested in the other animals
at the fair, too!
September 20, 2012:
Schoharie Elementary student Ethan wrote
this about me:
"I like to play with Buckles, and hug him. I have Buckles 'sit pretty,'
and 'high five.' I walk with Buckles. I tell him left or right, and
'slow' on the stairs. Buckles picks up toys on the floor."
Ethan comes to see me every day, and we are becoming
best buddies. Ethan earns time with me by getting his work done and
following all the classroom rules. He has not missed one day since
I've been visiting more classrooms, and I went to a
speech session with our speech pathologist, where I stayed quiet while
she worked with the student.
September 14, 2012:
A lot of teaching and learning goes on here! The
students are learning about my job and duties as a service dog, and I am
teaching them what I can do. Here I am showing how I can sit up on a
command which is called "Sit pretty." I've been trained to assist people
in many ways.
September 5, 2012:
Tomorrow is the first official day of school, but
this place is really busy today. Everyone is getting ready, but some
children are already here, visiting or practicing sports or stopping in
with their moms or dads. You can see that I've been studying hard in the
I think it will be a while before I see one of my
visitors in the first picture below at a desk here. Recently, I also had
a play date with Ms. Jacobsen's dog, Mia (center photo). And, I
helped Ms. Newberry prepare for the start of school.
August 28, 2012:
As we get ready for school, I've been meeting more
of the big people who work here and practicing my skills so I can start
off on the right paw with the children I will see next week. I also met
two fifth graders this week, Daisy and Bridget, and I
shook their paws. They were visiting school and asked to see me.
I am also
staying strong and fit during my summer vacation - exercise is
important, they tell me, but I think of it as play!
August 16, 2012:
At school today, I spent some time with preschool
students while their parents met with staff. First, I opened the door
and let them in, and then closed it. I showed the children how I turn
the lights on and off, and of course, I let them pet me. One boy said I
was very smart!
Last weekend, I took my first boat ride, and I loved
it. My ears blew in the breeze as I rode in the bow across Lake George.
I met a group of senior citizens and demonstrated how I can help a
person dress: I know how to take off and put on socks! I also behaved
well with other dogs who also were visiting Lake George that day.
August 8, 2012:
Since last week, I've practiced some of my skills at
a mall and a grocery store. Here at school, I helped children sit through
meetings their parents had with Mrs. N. Because the children stayed
quiet, they were able to play with me afterward.
Today, I demonstrated more of my commands at
school. I turned a light switch on and off, opened a door, moved to the
right side and the left side of Mrs. N., led her through a small space,
and closed the door. I also took a nap in her office (but I didn't need
to be asked to do that!)
Within the next week or so, I will be visiting
preschool students at Whispering Pines and showing them what I can do. I
hear they are two to five years old; I wonder if I will be taller than
At home, I'm learning how to catch a frisbee, and
I've been having fun swimming with my sister dog and our humans. Check
out my form off the diving board! I'm glad tennis balls float.
August 1, 2012:
This week, I went to the Schoharie County ARC, where
Schoharie Central School Board of Education President Linda Isles is a director. I visited with
people there, practiced some of my skills and went on the VIP (Very
Important Puppy) tour. Back at school, I gave a demonstration of how I
follow some of my commands.
July 25, 2012:
I'm having fun learning all about my new home and my
new job from my new people. I really am using what I learned in
assistance dog school - my teachers there were right when they told me that I would.
I also experienced my first Schoharie School fire
drills this month. After hearing the alarm, I made sure my people walked
out of the building safely.
July 13, 2012:
I arrived at my new home at the end of June, and my
first day of school in Schoharie was July 2. I have been learning lots
of things here: where the children learn, walk, eat, play, and get on
and off their busses. I've visited classrooms, hallways, buildings,
parking areas, the playground and the athletic fields.
I already visited with high school summer school
students and met a lot of adults who work here (they call them staff and
they are pretty good at shaking my paw and petting me). I have even
played outside here, where my favorite game is fetch!
When I am not in school, I am still learning and
practicing what I learned at NEADS. I go to the grocery store, the mall
and on trips in the car. At home, I swim and play with my doggie brother
and his humans. And I always do my homework.
Even service dogs have recess! I played fetch
during my first day of school! Notice that I am wearing my handsome red
working vest. I graduated from my blue training vest.
Our newest staff member: Buckles the Classroom
June 21, 2012:
Thanks to all of the votes the school received in
the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow grant competition earlier this year,
Schoharie Central School will welcome a new, very special staff member
on July 2: Buckles, a social therapeutic classroom assistance dog.
Buckles comes to our school from the
National Education for Assistance Dogs (NEADS) organization, and
will live with Schoharie Central School's Director of Curriculum & Pupil
Personnel Services, Linda Nevulis, who recently completed five days of
training at the NEADS facility in Massachusetts working with Buckles so
he can share all of his talents and services with
Buckles will work with a diversity of students at
school, from Kindergarten through high school. He'll be a partner, a
motivator, a classmate and a friend. And much more.
NEADS trains service dogs like Buckles to work with
provide "a unique and effective way to connect with children in the
classroom." According to NEADS, "The presence of a dog can put many
people at ease and allows them to start talking more freely than they
would have otherwise. Children tend to form a special bond with animals
and will share things with a dog or dog handler that they are afraid to
tell authority figures."
NEADS website also notes that service dogs are "an
effective therapeutic partner for physical and occupational therapists
who are looking for a way to motivate children to use their body in
certain ways. Throwing a ball exercises both the dog and the child,
without either of them being aware of it! . . . Brushing the dog or
attaching the dog’s cape or backpack can be a great way to enhance
"Speech therapists find that having a dog that obeys
commands and performs tasks when a child says something correctly can be
a great incentive for children to work on their enunciation."
A golden retriever who was born on Jan. 17, 2011,
Buckles was named after the longest surviving World War I veteran at the
Buckles. A very special dog, Buckles has already helped a person grow
and learn: he was trained by an inmate in a Massachusetts correctional
facility through NEADS Prison PUP Partnership program. He also learned
at a local police department, and he worked
with a volunteer weekend puppy raiser, learning about life at home and
in the community.