“Cooter Brown,” a Silver Labrador retriever, has become a part-time “faculty member” at Monarch Academy at Morgan’s Wonderland, helping students with special needs improve their reading skills.
Nanette Roenigk of New Braunfels fell in love with the dog three years ago at the Morgan’s Wonderland “Free to Soar” Gala fundraiser and submitted the high bid for him in a live auction. She usually brings Cooter Brown to Monarch Academy on Wednesdays so students can read to him and tell jokes in the interests of speech therapy, self-confidence and inclusion. His next visit is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10.
Cooter Brown fits right in with the students because he, too, has a special need – loss of vision in one eye, Roenigk said. The students feel a connection toward him because of his nurturing nature and soothing demeanor.
"Our new ‘faculty member’ is a valuable addition to our social and communications curriculum,” said Anne Bristol, Monarch Academy’s head of school. “The students relate well to Cooter Brown while he sits quietly on a blanket and listens to them practice their reading skills out loud.”