Ad Spot

Local business helps HHS special education students learn job skills

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA – The Helena Dog House business recently got some exterior upgrades thanks to the help of a few Helena High School students willing to put in some hard work on Friday, March 15.

Helena High School students Ava Harris, Kennedy Schlueter, Monse Gonzalez and Will Pylant spent the day painting light blue paw prints on an exterior fence on the property.

Helena Dog House specializes in pet boarding, grooming, daycare and training and opened about a year ago in Helena.

Owner Nicole Barnes said the HHS special education students have been volunteering all throughout the 2018-19 school year.

“They’ve been coming most of the school year and volunteered on a weekly basis except for a break during the winter,” Barnes said. “Julie Gray, the special education school bus driver, came by and left a business card and it got my wheels turning after teaching special education for so long that I wanted to involve the department in here somehow if I can. We partnered and they’ve been cleaning kennels, bathing dogs, washing dishes, painting and things like that.”

Barnes and Job Coach Andria Gaither said the best part of teaming with local businesses is that special education students can get the exposure and skills they need for the future.

“In the grand scheme of things, this helps them have work skills so that when they complete high school, they can have skills already developed that they can take to a job,” Gaither said. “My hope is that another employer will see this and want to get involved as well.”

Harris spent the day painting the paw prints and discussed some of the things she’s learned while outside the classroom.

“I think my favorite part was giving baths to the dogs,” Harris said. “I want to be a horse trainer when I grow up and I love animals.”

Barnes said Helena Dog House and the special education department are also working on summer internships going forward.

Helena Dog House is located at 97 Ace Place where they’re open Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Sunday for pickups only between 4-6 p.m.

For more information, visit



280 Main Story

Leadership Shelby County Class of 2020 makes graduation official

Alabaster Main Story

ACS working to address mental health needs of students


Pelham Parks and Rec releases summer activity guide


Kramer swears in new CASA Volunteers

280 Main Story

Chamber’s 6th ‘Ready to Shred’ a success


UM hosting Warrior Challenge 5k, 1-mile Color Run

280 Main Story

Chamber accepting Small Business of the Year nominations


Sapp’s Fitness Garage to host Workout for Water April 17


Helena moving forward with Greenway project

Alabaster Main Story

Adventurer’s Coffee Co. to open in Alabaster

Alabaster Main Story

Earth Alive concert to showcase ACS choirs

280 Main Story

Oak Mountain Middle School to remain indefinitely closed due to damage

280 Main Story

Kearley shares abuse story during National Child Abuse Awareness Month

280 Main Story

Chelsea Council annexes more land, shares Nick Grant


Pelham to offer youth coed flag football this summer


Proximity park to be built in Old Town Helena


Helena Council denies Riverwoods rezoning request


SCAC High School Juried Art Exhibit is April 24

Community Columnists

Billings caps 30-year Army career with volunteerism


HPD sets date for Douglas W. Jones Memorial Golf Tournament


Barks and Boils: Pub 261 hosts crawfish boil and pet vaccine clinic


Helena students enjoy a “Fireside Fairytale” prom

Alabaster Main Story

Alabaster City Schools recognized for music education programs

Alabaster Reporter

I-65 lane closures expected April 12-15