VIDEO: Meet Dyson, not your average St. Mark's student

Even man's best friend has some learning to do, and he's getting it done at St. Mark's High School.

WDEL's Amy Cherry explains in this week's WDEL Delaware EducationWatch.

There's a dog roaming the halls of St. Mark's High School.

Dyson is being trained to be a service dog by senior Amanda Joyce.

"I have to take him out into the public at least once every day to get socialization to make sure he can handle himself in all different situations," says Joyce.

For Joyce, training puppies like Dyson is personal. She does it because her sister, Alex, can no longer walk. She suffers from a neurological disease that weakens the muscles. But thanks to her service dog Dee Dee, Alex, a St. Mark's grad, can do all kinds of things, including go to work.

"It helps her to pull off clothes and to pick up things that she's dropped," she said. "If you say front or side, he'll come to the front of you just to make sure that he's able to move around, you know, someone in a wheelchair and be in the proper position."

Dyson also won't fetch -- at least unless he's told.

"His most important skill is how to behave in public situations and how to lay down and ignore all the distractions around him," said Joyce.

Joyce is both patient and persistent with Dyson, speaking sternly and rewarding him with treats, in hopes he'll become like her sister's service dog that gives Alex confidence. Joyce says she can't imagine life for her sister without Dee Dee.

"I can't even picture it. It would be very, very hard," she said.

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