Making a Difference: Niijii

By KBJR News 1

December 19, 2013 Updated Dec 25, 2013 at 10:28 PM CDT

Nett Lake, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- A therapy dog named Niijii is helping students build healthy relationships and trust at the Nett Lake School on the Boise Forte Reservation.

Niijii is Anishinaabeg for friend.

Nearly 2-years-old, the Newfoundland has been helping his owner, the school counselor for most of his life.

Aside from making friends wherever he goes, Niijii helps kids to calm down, show empathy, but most importantly, he builds trust.

"When they see him as a friend, that automatically starts the trust, you know, breaking down the trust issues,” Brandon Benner, Nett Lake School Board Chairman said.

Niijii is certified for animal therapy.

His owner says she plans to keep up with certification requirements so Niijii can continue to make a difference.