Bishop Shanahan Teacher and His Therapy Dog: Comforting the Community One Tail-Wag at a Time


John DeSantis, a teacher at Bishop Shanahan High School, and his therapy dog, Ingrid the Collie, are spending some pandemic time offering comfort in an environment that could use some warm and fuzzies. Matteo Iadonisi unleashed the story of their service for 6ABC.

DeSantis had always hoped to have a pet suitable for community service. But he knew it would take a special dog with the proper temperament and training to manage it.

When he met Ingrid, he knew he had hit the jackpot.

In late 2019, he enrolled her in therapy dog training. The pandemic slowed the learning process somewhat. But eventually, Ingrid passed her evaluations, got her credentials, and was ready to set out and make people feel better.

The pair can now be found visiting schools in the area from preschools to colleges. They also make visits to various senior centers, as well as greet shoppers at local stores and banks.

“With the pandemic, there’s a lot more anxiety types of behaviors (in classrooms),” said DeSantis. “So, the dog therapy visits are good because they break up the boredom, and it does help (students) with socialization.”

Read more about the pair at 6ABC.

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