Michigan first graders write to their principal asking for a dog – and now the whole school is in love with Buddy the Therapy Dog

Michigan first graders write to their principal asking for a dog - and now the whole school is in love with Buddy the Therapy Dog

This article is part of a series at 74 that profiles the heroes, victories, achievements, and random acts of kindness found in schools across America. Learn more about our recent inspiring profiles at The74Million.org/series/inspiring.

TSince the mission was to write convincingly, first graders at a school in Muskegon, Michigan chose a topic that almost every kid practiced on: They really, really wanted a dog.

But what started out as a classroom lesson ended up helping students, teachers, school and even the neighborhood animal shelter, mlive.com reported.

The kids at Reeths-Puffer Elementary School wrote to their principal, listing the reasons dogs are good for kids and useful in schools. Apparently, they were good persuasive writers, and they got administrators thinking.

“We started doing research, and it turns out there’s a lot of research that says having a dog in school, a therapy dog, is beneficial,” Deputy Principal Karyn Benner said. in a video posted by the Muskegon Humane Society. “Last summer I went to the Humane Society and asked them if they would have a dog that could be hypoallergenic and playful and really good with kids and calm and who wouldn’t bark much. So we had quite a few things we were looking for.

Benner quickly found Buddy, a cuddly furball who became the school’s therapy dog. She adopted Buddy and now brings him to work every day, where he inevitably sniffs the most needy child.

“He thrills teachers who have had a hard time and supports our school-wide Positive Behavioral Support and Interventions (PBIS) initiative,” Benner told Good News Network. “We have very aggressive students who have elaborate behavior plans. When their behaviors escalated, our supervisors were often unable to defuse them in a timely manner. But when Buddy arrives, the students melt away in minutes. “

The story could have ended there, but it was too good not to be shared. Benner submitted an essay on Buddy to the Petco Foundation’s Holiday Wishes grant campaign and noted that Title I school has many students with diverse social and learning needs.

“Buddy is an integral part of our ‘support team’, providing therapy to students when needed,” Benner wrote. “It is used as a reading companion, a comfort for those who are sad or upset.”

The Petco Foundation, which has awarded $ 4.2 million in vacation rewards since 2012, including nearly $ 900,000 in 2019, was convinced. He awarded the Muskegon Humane Society a grant of $ 100,000.

“Buddy is a great dog who was able to reach his full potential because he received the love and training he needed,” Alexis Ogborn, executive director of the Muskegon Humane Society, said at the ceremony. “There are millions of friends in shelters, and it just takes people who love them and want to help them find their purpose. We really appreciate you doing this for Buddy. “

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