LINDEN, NJ - Students at Deerfield School No. 9 in Linden had a special visitor when math coach Walter Schweikardt brought in his dog, Buster, who is a retired therapy dog.
Third-graders at the school are learning about different kinds of service dogs, so Schweikardt thought it would be a good time for them to meet Buster, who is 15 years old.
In several sessions on Thursday, Feb. 21, Schweikardt brought Buster into classrooms and talked to the students about him. Schweikardt told students about different kinds of service dogs, including police dogs and Seeing Eye dogs.
He explained that therapy dogs go to hospitals, nursing homes, and schools to cheer up people
who are going through hard times.
Schweikardt also told the story of how he got Buster. When he was a teacher at School No. 2 in Linden about 15 years ago, he found Buster on the playground as a tiny puppy and adopted him. He later came to realize that with his calm demeanor, Buster would make a great therapy dog.
Buster is retired now because as he got older, he lost much of his hearing, making it difficult to
give him commands.
The students loved getting the chance to meet and pet Buster, watching Schweikardt give him
treats of dog biscuits and carrots, and asking insightful questions about the life of therapy dogs.