This Incredible Therapy Piglet Spends Her Days Helping Children To Read

Andrea A.
2/12/2017

Frankie, an adorable little piglet, has a very unusual job at Franklin Elementary School in Muscatine, Iowa. She is, in fact, a therapy pig, who works to help children with their emotions and confidence every day.And what a job she's done! Trina Hepker, a special education teacher at the school, told local newspaper, the Muskatine Journal, that she's already seen changes in her students after Frankie was introduced.

Source: Muscantine Journal

Isaac Gbalea, one of the children at the school, found it difficult to sit still and read with the rest of the class because he was so shy. But now, you can find him sat quietly in the corner, reading peacefully with Frankie sat in his lap. The school's principle, Jason Wester, said that he wasn't completely on board at first:

When [Hepker] approached me about a therapy pig, I thought, ‘What are you thinking?’ But then she showed me the research behind it, and how it would impact student learning and how it would impact student relationships. How it could make school a successful adventure for them.

Since Frankie arrived, students have been coming to school excited and smiling. Students with emotional and anger problems have found that just 15 minutes reading with the piglet have been enough to calm them down. Hepker enthused:

On a daily basis, they are feeding her and watering her. They’re getting the droppings. They’re making her bed. It’s a reason to come to school. I try and really incorporate Frankie into our day.

Source: Muscantine Journal

In return, Frankie gives the students something to smile about and listens to them when they have problems during the day. The resourceful teacher concluded:

You can trust the pig. It’s okay to be upset. It’s okay to want to vent. I feel because she is real — unlike a stuffed animal — that they will be more likely to talk to her.

Frankie's arrival has truly helped Hepker and her class, once again proving the amazing benefits that animals bring to our lives.

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