Animal Assisted InterventionDuring the past few years, Intermediate District 287's Canine Council developed Animal Assisted Intervention for our students at many of our sites including the Hosterman Education Center.
District 287 Staff have volunteered to be handlers and are required to participate in formal training with animals assigned to the project. This specific training is provided by Minnesota Linking Individuals, Nature and Critters (MN LINC) and they must become certified by the Delta Society. To date, there are seven staff and their animals who are approved Handler/Animal Teams.
Meet One of our Teams
BONGO & Joyce Eckes
Bongo loved going to work each day and helping others. Bongo served students and staff in the Communication Interaction Program (CIP), Venture Middle and Secondary programs, and Ridgedale Alternative Program (RAP).
Bongo died earlier this year and is missed because he had many roles. He often motivated, encouraged, comforted and calmed others, including staff and students. In some situations, Bongo diffused emotionally charged and potentially dangerous student situations. Bongo always seemed to know who needed him and his calm, patient energy.
While taking walks with Bongo, students learned to be gentle, clear in their communications to him and aware of the ways he was communicating. Never holding back and never pushing, Bongo modeled the powerful yet simple gift of "being there" for another. He reminded us of what a gift it is when someone is fully present to us—deeply listening without judging, advising, commenting, or trying to tell us how we are feeling or what we are experiencing.
287 Student Tributes
- Sometimes Bongo I just need a friend that isn't a human.
- Bongo tells me he likes me every time because he wags his tail.
- Bongo gets me—lots of times people don't get me.
- He helps me do my math when I just want to throw a fit.
- He's quiet and makes me feel quiet too.
- Bongo likes when I read to him cuz he always lays down and closes his eyes.
- I want to take Bongo home so I can feel like this at home too.
- He's just too good to be true.