TIFFIN, Ohio — At Frost-Kalnow Stadium in Tiffin, there's a retirement party going on, but it's not for a coach or a teacher. It's for Ace, Tiffin City Schools' veteran therapy dog. The canine served the district for nine years, helping kids through stress or anxiety.
"He's ready to be in the sun, relaxing and on the couch. He has done his time. Helped lots of students and staff, and he's ready to retire," district social worker Jill Miller said.
The kids say Ace meant a lot to them.
"He's a very special dog to me. He helped me calm down in parts of the year. I really love him as our therapy dog," fifth-grader Avery Conley said.
"Because of the timing we were not able to have a successor dog right away," school counselor Trisha Eidt said.
Eventually, the district and students met Dusty, the newest therapy dog. Dusty made his debut at Ace's retirement party, and kids have already taken a liking to him.
"I'm excited for Dusty to be our new therapy dog. I'm also sad that we had to get a new one because Kennedy passed and Ace is retiring," fifth-grader Asialee Ellis said.
"I'm really excited to have him in the school."
Eidt says the dogs have become an important part of the school.
"The community is so supportive. We have so many people here this evening. They have kids or grandkids, or they're just community members that have helped us out along the way and really appreciate the work these therapy dogs do," Eidt said.
Retired counselor Suzanne Reinhart helped bring therapy dogs to the school district and would never have guessed they'd be such an important part of the community.
"I never dreamt in my wildest dreams when I embarked on this career that would happen but we are 'paws-itively' blessed," Reinhart said with a grin.
Ace will spend his retirement living with Miller. The school says they are excited for Dusty and all the kids he will help over the next decade.