Above and Beyond

Duncan will soon be one of 11 service dogs working in Brighton schools through a program started by MEA member Karen Storey.

Because he’s a well-trained therapy dog for Brighton Area Schools, Duncan knows to go to his carpet or pillow when he enters a classroom. But one day the three-year-old yellow Labrador walked into the junior kindergarten class, spotted a little boy struggling with his emotions, and quietly settled next to the child who began petting the dog. “That child’s sadness melted away, and Duncan was able to get him back on track,” said MEA member Karen Storey, who has spent 10 years building a program in Brighton considered to be a first in the nation. By this spring, every school in the district will have a trained therapy dog in service—and the high school will have three—completely funded by the community. The “Pack of Dogs” program is one component of the district’s efforts to address increasing mental health needs of students, a problem reported by districts of all types and sizes across Michigan.

View our story and photos on Brighton’s therapy dogs at mea.org/therapy-dogs-build-special-bonds. And read our Special Report on student mental health.

 

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