Meet Miko!

TR Staff
Staff Writer

By Donovan Williams
The students of Valley City High School are in for a wonderful treat with a visit from Miko Lerud, a 4-year-old miniature schnauzer who is a registered therapy dog. Miko will be visiting the students at the school library on November 30th, December 14th, and January 4th.
Miko's owner and School Librarian Sarah Lerud and Principal Kristi Brandt gave their input on the upcoming visits.
"We are hoping to have Miko visit more regularly," Brandt said. "We have sent out a notice to all of the parents to make sure everyone is in the loop. There might be some fears or questions as to why we're doing this."
Brandt said that the faculty will see where this goes, but the high school has had some experience with a therapy dog (a big yellow lab named Junior) before in a reading program with a therapy dog a few years back. It turned out to have already been a positive experience for the children and this sparked the idea to do something similar in the future.
"Our hope is that we'll be able to put flyers up around the school so kids will be able to see when Miko will be in the building," Brandt said. "It will allow us to see how the students will respond. Another thing is, if students are struggling with social interactions, there's a component with having a pet in the building that empowers students and makes them feel like they belong. We want to target as many kids as we possibly can and this can be one way where one kid that doesn't quite connect in other ways will still be able to connect this way."
Lerud shared that Miko absolutely loves children, saying that her son has had plenty of his friends coming over to their house and spending time with the adorable companion.
"Miko is just so sweet and has a very calm demeanor," Lerud said. "He has that special quality of calming people down, simply giving unconditional love. I feel that the kids need that."
He's always been very comforting. I registered him as a therapy dog and we're both also taking classes," Lerud explained. "We joined an organization approved by the American Kennel Club. We just want to get this started to see if this is something we can do."
Lerud continued. “An updated policy for the school board was submitted and approved.
Both Brandt and Lerud wish to make clear that Miko is not a dog who sheds so those with allergies should be able to be a part of the fun. They also assure that, because Miko weighs 16.5 pounds, people who are afraid of bigger dogs have nothing to worry about.
People need something every once in a while to emotionally connect them to something positive in school's culture, something to make their day.