Therapy Dog Atlanta special-needs school, Cumberland Academy of Georgia, has welcomed a new furry friend that will help students build social awareness, confidence and assist with daily learning. Lacy, the school’s new therapy dog in training, made her debut in June—just in time for the start of Cumberland’s summer camp programs.

Even before the start of the 2017-18 school year, Lacy, the newest “staff member” at Cumberland Academy of Georgia, has been getting all kinds of attention. She’s been caught sleeping on the job, goofing off during school meetings, gnawing at her name tag, and taking extended bathroom breaks. Still, no one seems to mind.

Lacy has begun her training to become Cumberland’s new therapy dog. The Atlanta special needs school adopted the dog in June from You Lucky Dog Rescue—just in time for the start of the school’s summer camp program. Lacy is a 1½-year-old mixed-breed dog, part Labrador and part hound. Cumberland’s previous therapy dog, Haley, died in October 2016, and school officials are hoping Lacy will follow in her footsteps and become an integral part of the education at Cumberland. 

“Lacy clearly loves children. Her foster family quickly recognized her gift with children as unique and knew she needed a special place to thrive. It’s a beautiful experience to see an animal thrive and in doing so helping our very special population of children.” said Debbi Scarborough, founding director at Cumberland Academy of Georgia. “Lacy has begun her training, and I am looking forward to introducing her to Cumberland students this fall.” 

Lacey will come to school every day. In the morning, she’ll walk around the gym when the kids are interacting with each other pausing for a pet among students and staff. At lunchtime, the kids will take her outside, and she will also walk the halls throughout the day and provide positive reinforeement for a student who needs a quick break. “On a daily basis, Lacy will show the students how positive social behavior is rewarded by a wag of she tail,” explained Scarborough. “She also serves as a pick-me-up for kids to get a few licks and kisses throughout the day. Lacy’s talent with children will enable her to work the miracles and magic we saw with Haley. “

Lacy’s role at the school is an important one, and she will need time to be trained appropriately. In addition to spending time with summer campers, Lacy is also undergoing special therapy dog training this summer to get ready for the start of the new school year next month. The Cumberland administration believes Lacy can help build social skills, confidence among the students.

Scarborough is confident Lacy is the ideal dog for the school. “She makes all of us happy, not just the students,” said Scarborough with a broad smile. “The power of what I saw with Haley and what I am already seeing in Lacy is the amazing human-animal bond. We have no doubt that Lacy will have a positive impact on our students and staff here at Cumberland.”

About Cumberland Academy of Georgia: 

Cumberland Academy of Georgia specializes in the needs of students in grades 4 through 12 who have high-functioning autism, Asperger’s syndrome, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learning disabilities. Cumberland was founded in 2007 by Debbi and Matthew Scarborough, and is a fully-accredited, independent, non-profit school that seeks to provide a safe and supportive academic atmosphere for its students. Cumberland accepts applications year-round. To schedule a family tour, please contact Terri Brooks, director of admissions, at 404-835-9000, or email