“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”

Roger Caras (photographer and writer)


Jordan started at REED Academy when he was 4 years old. One of the concerns his parents expressed to the team at REED was his tremendous fear of dogs. They wanted a family dog but Jordan’s fear was a barrier to that reality…until Jordan came to REED.

Meet REED’s most unique staff member, Myrtle, a beautiful 3-year-old yellow labrador retriever.

Over the past year Jordan’s team at REED has created innovative programs which have given Jordan a level of comfort around Myrtle, so much so that his family is now planning to get a puppy this summer!

Myrtle is a champion among us!

In a very short time, Myrtle has made a strong impact on the students and staff at REED Academy. She joined the team in 2017, as part of a one-of-a-kind pilot program from Guiding Eyes for the Blind, and has become an unsung hero in the classroom, due to her calm demeanor and love of people.

Myrtle has many roles on the team. For some Myrtle is a friend. Many students like to sit and play with Myrtle during their breaks. For others Myrtle is part of their daily school schedule, serving an important role in teaching children how to overcome their fear of dogs. And for all who know her, Myrtle has become a furry best friend who loves attention, playing in the gym, and making people smile.

Her eagerness to please allows her to bond with students like Jordan.

The staff at REED Academy has observed that Myrtle’s loving and steady nature has added to the happiness of many of their students. There are daily opportunities to learn the basics of taking care of a dog; such as feeding, walking and brushing. For some students, Myrtle provides a reward for completing their work in school, by requesting to walk, play, or just pet her.

Teachers love and appreciate how Myrtle brings warmth and love to the students. Her wet kisses and wagging tail of thanks put smiles on everyone’s faces. If you visit REED on any given day you might find staff members playing with Myrtle or walking her around the school during their lunch breaks!

The REED Foundation for Autism’s mission is to help families identify resources, gain knowledge, and navigate the journey from autism diagnosis through adulthood. The Foundation focuses on providing early intervention, education, life skills and employment opportunities.