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Novi High Students Find Comfort in Furry Friend

Students and staff at Novi High School turn to therapy dog Henry when they're feeling down.

At Novi High School, students get more than candy and a quiet place to think when they're upset. They get Henry, the therapy dog.

Henry, a 1-year-old Portuguese Water Dog, works full time at the high school, helping students feel comfortable and overcome anxiety and anger.

"He knows when someone is upset," said Missy Bean, social worker and Henry's owner.

>>See Henry in the video above interacting with 9-month-old Lucia Buedeker, in the school's daycare, and a high school student.

He has a calm temperament, she said, and will simply sit with students to let them pet him.

"He has free range in the counseling office," she said.

Henry interacts mostly with students who have special needs, but he is there to help everyone. Secretary Mary DePotter said he will lie on the floor with students and also creates a calming atmosphere for the staff, whom he knows well.

"He runs in every day for a treat," she said.

Henry, who was trained through Therapy Dogs International, has worked at the high school since last fall, after Bean researched how therapy dogs help students. He works well with kids with autism as well as others. Bean said students who are yelling will stop when she tells them they'll upset Henry. They won't listen to her, but they'll stop for him, she said. 

Henry's brother will soon become a therapy dog at one of Novi's elementary schools, Bean said. Novi Middle School also has a therapy dog, who is currently in training.

Have you met Henry? What do you think of him? Tell us in the comments.

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