Ivan Wubs, 4, had a tummy ache this morning, perhaps caused by butterflies before he headed to his first day of school at Luella Merrett Elementary School in Fort Worth.
"He was nervous and sick to his stomach," said Ivan's grandma, Myrna Wubs, 49, of Fort Worth. "His cousin is in the same class. I think he will be fine if he sees his cousin is doing okay."
Ivan sat in Jennifer Westmoreland's prekindergarten class, as adults tried to coax him to check out a hunk of Play-Doh. His cousin Ava Vidalez, also 4, sat next to him.
It is just this kind of situation where Herbie the therapy dog comes in handy. Herbie, a 7 year old lab with a golden stripe down his back, ambled over to offer some comfort. Four such assistance dogs were at the campus on Kermit Avenue as students arrived this morning.
The dogs can help diffuse anxiety and calm crying kids, said Principal Melissa Bryan. Parents, too, like to pet the canines.
During the school year, the dogs visit the campus and work with students learning to read. The children read aloud to the dogs, said librarian Amy Smiley.