Therapy dogs help Belton ISD staff and students cope the death of beloved teacher

By  | 

BELTON, Texas (KWTX) It’s the first day back for some Central Texas schools.

On Tuesday, staff and students at Miller Heights Elementary in Belton remembered one of their own, Shelly Splittgerber.

Splittgerber and her mother Sherry were shot and killed at their home December 20th.

Splittgerber son, Corden, is still recovering.

The school staff and students reeling from the loss are turning to therapy dogs to help with the sudden loss.

“The animal assisted therapy is just wonderful because it helps the children process some of those difficult complex emotions and make sense of things” Miller Heights principal Jennifer Conner said.

A difficult time Conner is trying to help her students and staff through.
“Coach S was a very special person and we miss her” Conner said.

Coach S or Shelly Splittgerber had been at Miller Heights Elementary for one semester but her impact was huge.

“She was an exemplary employee, highly respected such an excellent work ethic and just a wonderful friend and person” Conner said.

To help students too young to understand how to cope with the loss through the day, the school got a little help from the Golden Rule Retrievers, a group of therapy dogs.

“For a short amount of time they can forget the sadness or anxiety that they are feeling” Golden Rule Retrievers founder Amanda Davis said.

Students like Josiah Rodriguez were comforted by the furry pals.

“He’s helping me by sitting next to me and being nice” Rodriguez said.

The district says they will have continued support for all their students this week and throughout the semester.