Our Stories


Maynard joined the staff of Christel House Academy West on February 13th, 2017. Since then he has been melting hearts and working hard to spread the love around. Maynard is a Canine Companions for Independence Facility dog. He knows over 40 commands that he can use in the classroom or out, directly motivating and inspiring students with his unconditional love and attention.  He helps kids regulate their emotions and encourages feelings of calm and security in school.

“Maynard can often accomplish in five minutes what would take me two hours to accomplish with a student,” explains Debby Nauta, Maynard’s handler and Christel House Academy West Instructional Coach. Maynard can calm an upset kid through a walk or a hug, and his wide range of commands can help make a classroom exercise more enjoyable. “Anything just to make learning more exciting and fun is a goal of Maynard’s,” says Mrs. Nauta.

Maynard is a two year old Labrador and Golden Retriever mix with a great disposition Mrs. Nauta describes as “Calm, smart, and loving.” Everyone at Christel House Academy West simply adores him. He can hardly walk down the hall without cries of “Maynard!” and lots of hugs and pets. This dog is definitely a rock star to his school and will be helping kids be calm and learn for years to come!

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