The Dogs of Catholic Schools: Part Five

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Dogs of Catholic Schools Josie WC

Meet Josie, the spunky and sweet service dog of West Catholic High School! 

Josie is a 5-year-old Golden Retriever who has become a staple of the Academic Support Center (ASC) at West Catholic. She spends three days a week at the school, and gives students who visit the ASC a warm greeting. Josie is a trained West Michigan Therapy dog, provides emotional support for students who are struggling, and gives a welcome distraction from the stress often felt at school. Her owner and trainer, Sandra Golembiewski, referred to as Ms. G, says, “I trained her because I planned on visiting nursing homes and children's hospitals with her once I’m retired from West Catholic. I did not expect the reaction from students, adults, children that she is receiving! I’ve observed her positive effect on all. A student who was afraid of dogs now sits on the floor and pets Josie."

When Josie isn’t in the ASC, Josie will visit the main office and walk the hallways in order to greet students in-between classes …accompanied by Ms. G, of course. But the high schoolers at West aren’t the only people Josie showers with her love! Every Wednesday, she visits the youngest children on campus at the daycare facility set up to support teachers and staff. Ms. G provides the children with treats and they’ll work on her tricks with her, but usually their training sessions turn into dog piles! “They love to use her as a pillow!” Ms. G laughs, “and she loves the attention! She is a snuggly dog, so it works out so well. I’ve even seen some of the high schoolers lay on the floor with her and pet her!” 

Whether she is comforting a stressed high schooler or playing with a rambunctious toddler, Josie has love and comfort to give to everyone she encounters!