The Crystal Apple Award usually goes to a human volunteer but after this one Pit Bull, Alexander’s story, you can easily she why she won. The neatest part about this story is that Alex is a Pit Bull. Pit Bulls have been known to get a really bad rap as senselessly aggressive dogs. They are just like any other breed and will only become aggressive if they were raised that way. Due to their natural strength and broad stand, they are most often raised and bred for fighting, which contributes to this horrible stereotype. Luckily storied like this keep going viral and more and more states are lifting their bully breed bans so there is still tons of hope for this breed.
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The nominations for this award are made by district teachers and staff, and there are only a couple of people selected each year. This year, Kaye Long and Paula Brooks, two teachers that work with Alex and the special-needs kids, decided to nominate Alex for the award. All 17 of the students from both classes wrote letters to the school board in support of Alex’s nomination.
“Alex spends around three hours each week, usually Thursday afternoons, working with two classrooms of special-needs students at Harris Elementary School in Amherst, said Chip Ingersoll, Alex’s human and trainer.
Ingersoll owns and runs the Alpha-Dog Pet Center in Amherst.
“These students range from grades three to five and have various special-needs, such as learning disabilities, autism and social or emotional issues,” said Ingersoll. “They read to Alex, talk to her, share stories and tell her their problems,” he said. “Sometimes they just pet or play with her, using Alex as a form of sensory stimulation. They open up to her in a way that they often don’t with any of the school staff.”
“Alex is a Certified Therapy Dog, which means she is a special type of service dog that can go into schools, nursing homes, hospitals and visit people to make them feel good and lift up their spirits,” said Ingersoll.