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'Wiggins' gets warm welcome at Crown Road


‘Wiggins’ gets warm welcome at Crown Road

A new addition to the learning community at Crown Road Campus comes in the form of a furry and four-legged labrador retriever named Wiggins, a 3-year-old therapy dog from Canine Companions. 

Tim Faulkner is his owner and handler. He brings in Wiggins twice a month to meet with students in a small lounge in the main office. For most, It is love at first sight. Wiggins has a friendly, calming presence that generates smiles and affection from all of his new friends. He is also polite: He sits quietly and shows mostly perfect attention as students read books to him and mark their progress on a wall graphic that looks like a thermometer. 

Wiggins the Therapy Dog

At each visit, Tim answers lots of questions about Wiggins, who is highly trained for his role. He can also do a few tricks such as sit, shake, “high five,” walk backward and ignore a treat in front of his nose until Tim gives him the go-ahead to eat it. He will not bark unless Tim tells him to.

When he isn’t working at OCM BOCES, Wiggins provides comfort throughout the community, with stops in Lyncourtand Ronald McDonald House, among other locations. 

Research has long shown that therapy animals provide a sense of unconditional love and companionship that can boost happiness and well-being in people of all ages.

“Students and staff love Wiggins, and it’s a great opportunity to expand students' empathy and literacy skills,” Crossroads Principal Maggie Daniels said.