COPPERAS COVE, Texas — A rescue dog at a Copperas Cove elementary school is used to help students overcome their learning barriers. 

Her name is Ayla. She's an 11-year-old rescue dog, who's also a therapy dog.

Andrea Boen, a counselor at William's Ledger Elementary in Copperas Cove, rescued Ayla when she was a puppy and then trained her as a therapy dog.

Boen decided In 2017 that Ayla would be a great addition to the school and an even greater benefit to their students. 

"Seeing a dog in our school, they know that this is a warm and friendly place so it really does make a big difference. She enhances our guidance program," Boen said. 

Ayla helps students at Williams Ledger Elementary with their social skills, like anxiety and other learning barriers. 

Students like second grade Tristan Raines said he loves seeing Ayla in his classroom. 

"She feels soft and I feel like petting her makes me happy and makes her happy," Raines said. 

Second-grader Emily Moore said she wishes Ayla was in her classroom every day.

"If I always saw Ayla I would be really happy because she's a really cute dog and she's a really nice dog," Moore said. "She's really kind when she's at school and she helps people when they're hurt." 

When students interact with Ayla, Boen said they become relaxed. Then they're able to express themselves and decompress so they can focus and learn.

Ayla establishes a relationship with all students at Williams Ledger Elementary and ultimately enhances their learning experience.

"When children are happy and they don't have those barriers (of) anxiety (they) don't worry (and) they can learn," Boen said.

She said students, teachers, and parents all love Ayla and she has become their unofficial mascot.

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