WACO, Texas (FOX 44) – University High School is welcoming a unique team member to the campus this school year!

Bear is a goldendoodle emotional support dog coming just in time for the first day of school. This program came to fruition through a collaboration with Bella’s Buddies K9U program – which specializes in training golden retrievers and goldendoodles for placement as therapy dogs in veterans’ homes, schools and charitable organizations.

Bear will serve as an emotional support resource for both students and staff, and will move through various parts of the campus throughout the school day. As Bear’s handler and campus leaders learn more about how Bear can most effectively support students and staff, his schedule will be adjusted. After school hours, he will stay with his primary handler Alyssa Grammer – who is the campus’s cheerleading sponsor.

Bear started his residency at University High this summer by attending cheer practice and student workouts in the gym and weight room. He will be on campus daily, and will join the cheerleading team at home games. Students and their families will also be able to meet Bear at the Back-to-School Family Fest on August 6, Fish Camp for incoming ninth-graders, and University High’s open house on August 11.

The district will begin with one therapy dog at University High, but a second dog will be joining the team at the Greater Waco Advanced Health Care Academy soon.

The vision for Bella’s Buddies K9U is to join canines trained to alert and respond to specific academic, behavioral and emotional needs with schools and organizations to increase social and behavioral proficiencies, promote physical and mental wellness, and encourage independence in solitary and social environments.

If you would like more information on Bella’s Buddies, you can check out their website at www.bellasbuddiesinc.org, or contact Amanda Davis at 903-390-8181.