Violet with VictoriaIt’s late in the school year, but the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School community welcomed its newest member to class this week: a therapy dog named Violet.

A two-month-old golden retriever/poodle mix, Violet will serve primarily as a companion for students in the Multiply Disabled program, which features a self-contained classroom for students who require special education and related services, according to a school announcement.

Violet in the ClassroomViolet in the classroom. (Click to enlarge)

Violet — seen above with instructional aide Victoria Vaughan, who serves as her volunteer host — will be a daily presence in the classroom, where students will work with their teachers and Vaughan to help care for her, promoting independence and life skills.

The dog will also foster a comfortable and therapeutic environment in which students — for example, at-risk readers — can enhance their learning skills, said supervisor of special services Carol Krsyzckowski. And Violet’s presence will benefit the rest of the RFH population as well, she said.

“Extensive research has found that a therapy dog increases mental stimulation, acceptance, and empathy, along with countless other benefits,” she said. “A therapy dog can positively impact every person it comes into contact with.”

Board of education members Lisa Waters and Annie McGinty organized the purchase, made possible by contributions from private donors.