WEST ISLIP - A therapy dog visited students at BOCES' Masera Learning Center in West Islip today.

Bella Bear, a 116-pound Newfoundland therapy dog, spent the day with children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Bella was used to encourage the students to interact and communicate.

Bella's owner is Sharon Cimino, whose 13-year-old daughter Emily has autism and is a student at the school. Cimino says that after she rescued Bella, she noticed how gentle and protective the dog was.

Bella Bear visits the school twice a month. 

For more on the therapy dog, watch the clip to the left or click News 12 Extra on Optimum TV channel 612.