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Chevy, the therapy dog, spreads joy across NEISD campus

When two-year-old Chevy woke up in the morning and saw his little blue backpack by the door, he knew it was going to be one of his favorite days.

That’s because when the black Labrador therapy dog sees it, he knows he gets to go to school.

“He likes to check in on the kids and the staff,” Kara Juhl said.

Juhl is a teacher at North East ISD’s Academy of Creative Education (ACE) who adopted Chevy from the District’s Guide Dogs for the Blind Puppy Raisers Program.

The program is part of the Agriscience Magnet Program (AMP) located on the Madison High School campus.

Juhl first met Chevy when her daughter, a puppy raiser, was dog-sitting for a fellow student one weekend.

“He was being raised by a young man over in another high school to be a guide dog. He had medical issues, so he was medically career-change,” she explained.

Due to that career-change, Chevy was available for adoption, and Juhl’s family was thrilled.

“To be a guide dog, you need to have that stamina and be able to exercise a long period of time. He just had some issues with his elbows and I was very lucky to be able to adopt him. He’s a really great addition to our family. We really enjoy him. I did adopt him knowing that I wanted to be a therapy team with him,” she added.

Luckily, Juhl, who teaches English, Creative Writing, ELC Prep and ASL at ACE, knew the perfect place for Chevy would be at her school.

Every time he visits the school, his presence makes a difference and the smiles are instantaneous.

“I like to pet him and play with his ears,” 18-year-old Michael Acuña said.

Acuña is set to graduate from ACE next week and is eyeing a career in real estate or the U.S. Coast Guard.

He said having Chevy around makes him love the school even more. 

“When I came here, it was more focused and I just felt like zoned in,” the senior explained.

Juhl said everyone loves Chevy because he is just very calming.

“Having Chevy on campus, I’ve noticed for students, that sometimes they need a break. They can be a little bit anxious from their schoolwork so they’ll come over and they’ll sit with him. I have a brush and they’ll sit and brush him. I’ve also had them come and sit on the floor and do their work next to him,” she said.

Juhl has been part of North East ISD for 15 years and with ACE for two.

She said that’s precisely what this school is about: meeting the needs of students in a creative way.

“Anything that we can do to help them progress, move forward and be successful to reach their goals, then that’s what we’re going to do. Chevy’s just a part of that here at ACE.”

To learn more about North East ISD’s Academy of Creative Education (ACE), click here:

Because #NEISDcares!

Ashley Speller