Nuns play surprising role in training therapy dogs to help school kids

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This story involving religious sisters, cute pups, and school children couldn’t be any sweeter.

Acommunity in Baton Rouge is benefiting from the dedication and skills of some animal-loving religious sisters.

As part of their mission, the Mercedarian Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament spend time at the local school, Sacred Heart of Jesus, spreading joy and faith. Recently, Sr. Ashley Refugio was seen on the basketball courts showing some pretty nifty skills. Then a few days later the sisters returned with a little furry friend, Gia.

nun classroom
Courtesy of Sacred Heart of Jesus School Baton Rouge

Courtesy of Sacred Heart of Jesus School Baton Rouge

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In fact, the 8-month-old Bernedoodle has been trained by the sisters as a therapy dog. So at recess and in class, the young pup can offer some comfort and joy to children in need.

Taking Gia, whose name means “gift from God,” to the school also allows children to learn more about animals in a controlled and safe environment.

nus classroom
Courtesy of Sacred Heart of Jesus School Baton Rouge

Courtesy of Sacred Heart of Jesus School Baton Rouge

The playful pup is not the first dog to benefit from the care and devotion of the Mercedarian Sisters; the order has always had dogs since its founding in 1910. The sisters in Cleveland have helped raise a Shih Tzu therapy dog named Ava, who has given much service for 14 years. And the sisters also trained a little Cockapoo named Albee.

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nuns dog
Courtesy of Sacred Heart of Jesus School Baton Rouge

Courtesy of Sacred Heart of Jesus School Baton Rouge

Therapy dogs are increasingly used in times of crisis, as was the case in Uvalde after the school shootings. It takes time, love, and talent to train them. Thanks to groups like these religious sisters, others can benefit from the unconditional love of our faithful four-legged friends.

nun classroom
Courtesy of Sacred Heart of Jesus School Baton Rouge

Courtesy of Sacred Heart of Jesus School Baton Rouge

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