Welcoming a New Bear: Scout the Therapy Dog


Victoria Juarez

Scout begins job as new therapy dog

Victoria Juarez, Editorial Editor

Selma High School welcomes Scout, a new therapy dog, to campus. The two-and-a-half-year-old dog is a great addition to the mental health department, providing students the comfort they may need as they navigate everyday stressors. Jeter has been our therapy dog for the last few years and has proved himself an exceptional asset. 

Both Scout and Jeter can be found in the Library on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, they are in room 907B. 

Scout began interning December of 2020, and ended her internship July of 2021. She was board certified August 10, 2021 and officially began her job the week before school started.

In order for a dog to get certified, a dog must go through a series of four different temperament tests. These tests are set in public locations, such as children’s hospitals, and are designed to put the dogs in different situations to test their personality and temper. Scout is certified for her Canine Good Citizen, Canine Community Good Citizen, AKC Tricks Novice certification, and is approved for the Lines of Therapy Dogs. 

Training and socializing a dog plays a big role in whether or not they can be a therapy dog. Not just any dog can do what Scout does. However, humans also determine the dog’s ability to get certified.

“It’s not just we go to a petstore and we pass one test and now they’re a therapy dog,” says Ms. Rangel, the dogs’ caretaker. “I had to go through a series of training as well in Colorado, on animal assisted psychotherapy. I’m also in the process of becoming certified in animal assisted play therapy.”

Besides being cute and cuddly, Scout is also very intelligent. She can count up to five by barking and knows her colors. 

With the addition of Scout, Selma High now has two therapy dogs, but the hope is that as Jeter gets older, Scout will gain more experience, allowing Jeter to retire peacefully. 

“He is slowing down a bit where throughout the day he will lay in his bed and be done for the day, and that’s when she steps in,” proclaimed Rangel. 

There is currently no timeline for when Jeter will retire. Jeter loves working with students and according to Rangel, his own health plummeted when due to Covid, he had to be away from them. 

Covid has also affected the way Jeter and Scout interact with students. Students are now required to sanitize their hands before and after they pet the dogs. The dogs also get wiped down after every visit, as well as get groomed every other Friday. 

With the increase in population, Scout and Jeter are now at the High School every day. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, they start their days by visiting other schools before settling at the highschool.

Ms. Rangel and the dogs share their office with both Kimberly Garcia and Lizette Rodriguez. Both are mental health clinicians at Selma High who are there to offer guidance to  mentally struggling students. 

Having two dogs on campus gives students the comfort and attention they may crave, as well as a bit of variety seeing as how both dogs have their own personalities.  

“Jeter is becoming more specific in what student he wants to work with but Scout is just so green, she just wants everyone’s attention,” affirmed Rangel. “It’s really interesting because some people say having two dogs on campus is a little much but seeing the students as they walk in the library, you can see their body demeanor change.” 

So the next time you are feeling down, students or staff, take a trip to the library or room 907B and give Scout a nice welcome to Selma High.