Larc School Embarks on New Therapy Dog Program

ByTom Kretschmer Localish logo
Wednesday, May 3, 2023
Larc School Embarks on New Therapy Dog Program
The Guide Dog Foundation trained Jimmy, a 2-year-old pure bred golden retriever to be the school's new facility dog and mascot.

BELLMAWR, New Jersey -- Jimmy is the newest staff member at the Larc School in Bellmawr, New Jersey -- and arguably the most unique member.

He is a specially trained therapy guide dog and the new celebrity at the facility, which caters to students with special needs.

Many of the students receive therapy throughout their day and Jimmy will assist in sessions, greeting and being a motivator and morale boost for students and staff.

"Every day we see miracles happen," explains Executive Director of Larc School, Stefanie Riehl. "We recently saw a child say their first word. We see kids celebrate their 8th birthdays who weren't supposed to live past 7. And that's all thanks to our amazing staff. So, to have new guide dog Jimmy as a motivator, it's so important to our kids."

They received the 2-year-old golden retriever as part of a partnership with Guide Dog Foundation and America's VetDogs Program.

"These dogs look past the students' disabilities and are really motivated to give them the help they need to live without boundaries," says Cheyenne Whitetree, Service Dog Apprentice Instructor for Guide Dog Foundation.

Jimmy will work on site for four hours a day then stays at staffers' homes at night.

"Everyday at Larc we try to make everyday better for our kids than the next," said Riehl. "Therapy is different for everybody at Larc. It is up to us to help every kid match their potential."

For more information on the Guide Dog Foundation, you can visit them at And for more information on Larc School in Bellmawr, visit