Otsego classroom going to the dogs--in all the best ways

Otsego classroom going to the dogs--in all the best ways

OTSEGO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - One West Michigan classroom is going to the dogs, and it's all for a good cause.

The kids are combining a love of dogs with a love of learning, and getting some valuable business and life skills in the process.

Erin Cramer's class at Otsego High School is busy working on their first ever life skills project.

"They're learning how to follow directions, take criticism, positive and negative feedback," she said.

They're working together to braid pieces of fleece and tie them into dog toys.

Eventually, the toys they're making will be sold at local stores and all the proceeds will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

But this project is doing so much more.

"It gives them a lot. They're learning a lot of skills that are going to be necessary outside of this classroom," Cramer said.

The idea for the toys came from Cramer's dog, Quixote--or Q, for short.

The one year old Australian Shepard is a frequent member of the special education class, who helps teach the students responsibility.

"They take him out, they take him for walks, they potty him, they feed him, make sure he has water," Cramer said.

And Q steals frequent snuggles and belly rubs from students like Quinn Borling, who tells us school would be tough without his furry friend.

"Even when I'm feeling stressed out or frustrated, he sure keeps me company," he said.

Cramer says she's seen huge growth in Quinn and others, all with the help of Q.

"Instead of going further into that downward spiral, he kind of brings them into a place where they're ready to learn," she said.

Between the fundraising project and the classroom's unofficial mascot, the entire school has become a better place to learn.

"We've seen such a positive impact on him being not just in the classroom but the whole school," said Cramer.

In just 2-1/2 weeks, the students have raised $250 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation through their dog toys. They have a goal of $1,000.

Their fundraiser will go to the end of the school year.

If you want to buy one, click here.

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