Ari the therapy dog helps Louisville elementary students


Louisville Slaughter Elementary School

Olivia Krauth, Courier Journal, The Associated Press

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LOUISVILLE, KY.

It is not even noon, and Ari is struggling to keep his eyes open.


It is the first day back to school after a long holiday weekend, and the weather outside Slaughter Elementary is cold, gray and dreary.


Inside, fifth-graders are scattered throughout Amber Pendleton's classroom. A handful surround Pendleton at a kidney-shaped table against the back wall. Other quietly type on black Chromebooks, occasionally whispering to a friend nearby.


It's math class. Today's lesson: Fractions.


Ari sits alone on a colorful rug under the chalkboard near the front of the room, his large light brown eyes downcast. His chubby, wrinkly face gives him an air of perpetual exhaustion.

After a few minutes of no one acknowledging him, he puts his head down and falls asleep. No one notices. No one cares.


Ari doesn't understand fractions. Even if he did, he wouldn't be able to access the online lesson or use the class set of Chromebooks. He doesn't have opposable thumbs.


Ari is Pendleton's — and her students' — therapy dog.


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