Meet Governor and June - Radley Elementary Schools facility dogs

Governor laying down in class
Posted at 9:14 AM, Apr 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-12 12:34:00-04

HELENA — When Radley students are having a "ruff" time, they can visit two of the school's hardest workers with four legs.

"He's magical," said Jace Bullen, a 3rd-grade student at Radley Elementary School.


Governor was brought to the school in 2016 by Vashti Teders, a special education teacher.

She said, "The big goal for those dogs is to regulate [the students] brain state. We want them in what we call the green brain state where they can work through problems."

After speaking with various experts, Teder said that the dogs needed to be pure breeds with a lineage of therapy and service, have a soft temperament, and be light in color so as not to intimidate the students.

June going for a walk

Bullen has autism, which Teder says the dogs can help with.

The dogs can also benefit students with seizure disorders, trauma, and anxiety.

Madison King-Schedel, a 4th-grade student at Radley Elementary School, said, "She kind of brings my stress level down, and it's nice to just be with her, pet her, and snuggle with her."

June laying down

The dogs are also a motivator for students to go to school.

"I was like, 'I don't want to go to school,' but it gave me a reason...[to be] excited for this...because we have dogs here that can help, and it's fun to have them," King-Schedel.

Another third grade teacher, Jennifer Scoles, brought June to Radley last year.


June is still in training but attends school every day that she can.

Scoles said, "She figured out she could do it. She could be here and deal with sounds and all of those things. So, it's a treat."

June laying by student

Teder and Scoles pay for the dogs' needs, such as food, vet visits, grooming, and training.

Since the dogs mainly work with students who have mental disabilities, they have been trained to deal with things being thrown and not bite when a student is upset.

So far, there have been no problems with the students or the dogs being harmed.

Both teachers plan to continue the program, even after June and Governor retire.