Return to Headlines

Intermediate School Adds Truett to Assist Students

A new honorary staff member getting to know Woodland Intermediate School is a blond who hails from Ohio and has four legs.

Truett is his name and the 2-year-old blond Labrador/Golden Retriever cross is a working service/facility dog who loves to meet new people and shake hands. He comes at no cost to the district and his owner, Mrs. Lorna Horvath, is an occupational therapist at Woodland Intermediate who is so happy to have Truett available to motivate and inspire children with special needs.

“I have been thinking of owning a service dog since I graduated from college,” said Mrs. Horvath, who was certified to work with Truett and cares for him at home where he lives with her family - husband, Jason, a paraprofessional at Woodland Middle School and their two children, Ryan, 9 and Ellery, 7. The Horvaths also have their own chocolate Labrador, Addy, who Truett can spend time with when he is off duty.

The two-year-old service/facility dog was trained through Canine Companions for Independence in Ohio and after four trimesters of training, he graduated in a class of 20. At Woodland Intermediate, he resides in his bed or crate in the occupational therapy room, and accompanies Mrs. Horvath when she visits classrooms or walks through the hallways.

Mrs. Horvath said he can enhance the school experience for children who are shy or not verbal, lower anxiety in some children, receive commands from children, help children complete a task and help others with sensory issues, or maneuvering through an obstacle course.

On command, he knows how to close a drawer, turn a light switch off, pick up a pencil or puzzle pieces from the floor and shake hands. Children are asked to first check with Mrs. Horvath as to whether it is okay to pet Truett as he is working and does not need the distraction. Also, Intermediate School families are given the choice of making the school aware if their child needs to opt out of contact with Truett.