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Middle school welcomes facility dog

Posted at 5:09 PM, Mar 10, 2016

PALM SPRINGS, Fla. – Palm Springs Community Middle School officially welcomed their newest faculty member today. He was born in California, went through extensive special training, and today is his fIrst official day on the job.

“He can tug and pull doors,” explained his handler, Dr. Sheri Predmore.”He can open the washer, pull the clothes out and put it into the other, from washer to dryer. Front loading,” Predmore said laughing. “He's not that good.”

His name is Bojangles. He’s a facility dog, the first-ever at a Palm Beach County district school. And yes, you read that right, he can do laundry.

Sixth grader Gissell Santos says Bojangles has been at the school for about a month and he's already fitting in.

“It's like having a new friend,” Santos said. “He's made me feel better and when I'm blue and down and mopey. He comes to me, he lets me pet him, my blood pressure goes down.”

Bojangles is trained to do everything as if his companion is in a wheelchair; performing specific tasks for students with disabilities. For example, Bojangles can grab student lunch bags out of the fridge. But he also helps kids with anxiety or kids who just need a furry friend.

“People make fun of me and they call me names and stuff,” explained sixth grader Amber Gonzalez. “When I'm with Bojangles I feel different. I feel like I'm protected.”

She says when she feels down a little time with Bojangles helps her get through the day.

“When he's with me he knows when I'm sad. He looks at me and he gives me a look,” Gonzalez said. “I don't know, it's just a hard feeling to explain. The rest of my day when people say things and then I think about the way Bojangles looked at me and it doesn't matter anymore.”