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Mia is a black lab-golden retriever mix who was trained by an organization called Canine Companions for Independence.  Dogs receive about 18 months of initial training and then, if they meet certain requirements, go on for another 6 or so months of advanced training.  CCI trains dogs to be service dogs, hearing dogs, skilled companions, and facility dogs.  Facility dogs work in schools, hospitals, nursing homes, in the court system, or in a variety of other institutions that benefit from a skilled dog’s presence.  Mia works with me to provide therapy services to the students who receive occupational therapy.  Students practice their fine motor skills by doing activities such as dressing her in different costumes and by giving her treats using treat dispensers that require hand strength and dexterity.  She also helps students practice social skills by taking turns with her during games and she helps students who have difficulties with anxiety and self-regulation.  She really is a fun co-therapist!