Step-Up Students Enjoy Visits from Therapy Dog

Date posted: May 7, 2018

Students with Autism enjoy therapy dog visits at Stepping Stones I Cincinnati, Ohio

Jarrod C. meets Frye and Larry bennett

Every Monday, students of Stepping Stones’ Step-Up Autism Alternative Education program start the week with special guest visitors. Local fireman Larry Bennett and his American black lab Frye visit the program to spread joy and bond with participants.

Adopted from Cincinnati Lab Rescue and certified by Therapy Pets of Greater Cincinnati, two-year-old Frye brings positive energy to the classroom and shows affection in a way that only a dog can. 

The Step-Up program helps students with severe autism who have struggled in a traditional classroom thrive. In a one-on-one setting, participants progress through their studies and develop tools to overcome challenging behaviors. A therapy dog brings a calming atmosphere to the classroom and helps students reduce anxiety, build self-esteem and engage in positive social interactions.

For loving owner and trainer Larry Bennett, witnessing the evolving relationship between Frye and the students of Step-Up has been remarkable. 

“On our first visit,” said Bennett, “The students hung back and were pretty nervous. I would casually sit and talk to them about Frye. Now, they come right up to Frye and pet and hug him – and even receive kisses.”

Students with autism enjoy visits from therapy dog at Stepping Stones I Cincinnati, Ohio

Step-Up lead teacher Pam Schimweg, Dionas R., Frye and Larry Bennett bond.

Students with autism enjoy therapy dog visits at Stepping Stones I Cincinnati, Ohio

Jeremiah C. pets Frye with Educational Aides Hayden Neugent and Alex Ely


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