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Grief counseling dog also help students with reading

COVINGTON — From comforting those who have lost loved ones to acting as an educational tool, Caldwell and Cowan Funeral Home’s Jovie has become a multi-faceted dog. She’s accustomed to consoling the friends and family members of the deceased as a grief counseling mechanism, but she has also become well known at the Newton County Theme School as someone with whom the students can hone their reading skills.

Caldwell and Cowan’s Grief Management Director Adam Cooper chauffeurs Jovie to her reading sessions at the Theme School. He says that she has turned into such a popular visitor that when students see her in the hallway they immediately light up and identify her as the “super-dog.”

Reading aloud to Jovie, students can practice word pronunciation and articulation, without worrying about her judging or correcting them, Cooper said. They are comfortable reading to her because they know she will listen and not reprimand them in any way. When they are not reading a story to Jovie, they have the chance to pet her and thank her for listening to them.

Being certified through Therapy Dogs International and having had additional obedience training, Jovie is well-disciplined in the field of counseling. An official employee of Caldwell and Cowan, she helps those experiencing a loss at the funeral home’s regular grief counseling meetings and does individual grief counseling sessions as well.

According to Cooper, Jovie has a knack for picking up on people’s emotions.

“We had one lady whose son had died in an auto accident and she didn’t want to talk. Jovie was walking around the room at the group counseling meeting and sort of targeted this lady, and sat down next to her and let the lady start petting her. Before long, the lady started talking and opening up,” said Cooper.

In addition to her services at the funeral home and the Theme School, Jovie visits the residents of Merryvale Assisted Living on a regular basis.

To learn more about Jovie, contact Adam Cooper at 770-786-7042.