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Shelter dog named ‘Ernesto’ visits Gila Ridge classrooms


The Yuma Union High School District and the Humane Society of Yuma partner together for 'Dog Days Out' program

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - The Humane Society of Yuma's (HSOY) 'Dogs Day Out' program allowed its shelter dog to visit classrooms at Gila Ridge High School (GRHS) on Wednesday.

The dog, a boxer named "Ernesto" got to spend part of the day at Gila Ridge visiting classrooms in an approved area on campus.

According to the press release, Ernesto spent most of his young life in a kennel after coming to the Humane Society as a puppy less than a year ago.

Ernesto also visited the district office on March 2 said the Yuma Union High School District (YUHSD).

“Ernesto brought smiles to everyone's faces today,” GRHS Principal Kathy Hoover said. “Our students were so excited to interact with him, and he was so compassionate with them. Staff and students were excited to be a part of Ernesto's journey to be adopted. We are hoping this program helps shine a light on how great these dogs are and how much happiness their presence brings. We are looking forward to expanding the experience to more students who could benefit from the experience and, in turn, getting more pets adopted from the Humane Society of Yuma.”

Staff and students were able to interact with Ernesto on a scheduled basis or as a therapeutic intervention, after signing a consent form said YUHSD.

"We are grateful for the partnership with Yuma Union High School District for allowing us to share our shelter dogs with them,” HSOY Executive Director Annette Lagunas said. “The Dogs Day Out program gives our dogs the invaluable opportunity to experience a day out of the shelter and explore a new environment while meeting new friends. I'm sure Ernesto had an amazing day and while we hope to send him back out again, our ultimate goal is that he gets the exposure needed to find his forever home."

The purpose of the program is to help reduce kennel stress and provide dogs with enrichment, which provides insight into how the dog behaves outside the shelter environment said the press release.

Dogs participating in the program are certified by HSOY for public interactions with adolescents.

The press release mentioned YUHSD and HSOY want to expand the program in the upcoming months to include additional campuses and opportunities.

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Faith Rodriquez

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