TOLEDO, Ohio — Whiteford Elementary in Sylvania will soon have a four-legged staff member.
Biscuit, a Golden Retriever therapy dog, will start in the fall and students and staff say it's a welcome addition after the year they've all had.
"I cannot tell you how excited I am to see this gorgeous dog joining our school," student Mariam Xenofontos said.
Principal Andrew Duncan says their guidance counselor has been working on getting a therapy dog for some time now and they finally found a partner in Paws with a Cause.
"We were fortunate this year to secure a little grant money and support through our wife and parents organization to help us sponsor being able to secure Biscuit as a new staff member," said Duncan.
Biscuit still needs some training but is already bringing people together.
In fact, excited students helped raise $3,000 with a penny wars competition to go toward Biscuit and her expenses.
The winning team gets a special prize.
"Whoever wins with the most money for Biscuit and her training, they get a pizza party and to pie our principal Mr. Duncan in the face!" " Xenofontos said.
Duncan admits the pandemic has been hard for both students and staff, and Biscuit will be another resource to help ease anxiety and worry as things return to normal.
"We all have our struggles," he added. "No one else knows exactly what anyone else struggles with but it's our job to make sure we provide what each kiddo needs and the social emotional learning piece is a huge piece to that."
The winning class of the penny wars got to meet Biscuit on Friday, but she doesn't officially start her duties until next school year.
Duncan says they'll be doing more creative fundraising to keep Biscuit on for years to come, saying she's now a staff member and once a staff member, always an Eagle.