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Pirate The Wonder Dog

Pirate the Wonder Dog Works Wonders at Everitt Middle School
Posted on 09/23/2019
Pirate the Wonder Dog Works Wonders at Everitt Middle SchoolThis isn’t something you see every day on a Jeffco middle school basketball court. But at Everitt Middle School, it’s just part of the daily routine for Pirate. He’s just blowing off a little steam with his rubber chicken.

At Everitt, everybody knows Pirate.

“He's a therapy dog, helps with emotions. Every time we see him in the hallways,” says Matt Chalker, Everitt MS student.

“He helps people having a rough day, either really tired or just stressed out. Really nice and calm. Just the coolest dog really,” explains Grace Goodwin, Everitt MS student, “Sometimes kids are just having really bad days or bad weeks or bad months and sometimes they're having trouble at home. When they come to school and just see this really, really, really nice ball of fur, It's fun!”

Everitt’s Social Emotional Learning Specialist Dianne Arthur acquired Pirate through Freedom Service Dogs, and his original mission was to help people with disabilities, but a bad hip and a soothing demeanor put Pirate on a different course.

Arthur says, “he's making a big difference.  I think one of the things is, I don't care how upset a student is, when Pirate is in the room they immediately calm down. And what's really cool is it's even a subconscious thing that kids don't even realize.”

Arthur and Pirate log a lot of hallway and classroom steps while making their rounds at Everitt. And students look forward to his every visit.

“It's kind of nice to see something a little out of the norm. He’s very friendly and he loves snuggling. He’s a friendly face, and he’s very welcoming,” notes Goodwin.

And when Pirate’s not going to kids, the kids come to him. 
He has a special spot in Arthur’s office, which, by design, has a relaxed, beach theme.

Having Pirate around is "a real treat because he’s very, very kind. You can tell them they're your secrets and they're not going to tell anyone,” explains Goodwin.

It’s not just Everitt students. Everitt’s staff appreciates what Pirate brings too.

Brad Hull, Everitt MS P.E. teacher, notes "teaching is a very stressful job and [dogs] just naturally lower your blood pressure. I just know that seeing Pirate every single day. I just know it's gonna be a really good day. It just lets me know that everything's gonna be okay. He just always puts a smile on my face.”

Before Pirate could become part of the Everitt family, both he and Arthur needed extensive preparation. Arthur says, “I went ahead and I took a certification at the University of Denver in animal assisted therapy until I got my credentials.”

As for Pirate, he already had a year of Freedom Service Dog training, but before he could report for public school duty…“He had to pass the good canine citizen test which is a tough test to pass,” explains Arthur.

Pirate’s pre-Everitt resume also includes time working with inmates at the Colorado State Penitentiary in Canon City. One of them was so impressed by the dog, he wrote a note to whoever was to get him next. It reads, in part “Pirate is destined for greatness. He has a lot of love to share.” 


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