Article Image

IPFS News Link • Animals and Pets

Dogs Placed in Elementary Schools Making a Big Difference in Academics and Mental Health...


To help reduce anxiety—and open the way for learning—several elementary schools in Michigan have enrolled service dogs as full-time happiness ambassadors—and it is paw-sitively working.

Students are "already seeing a big difference in their academics," according to a news report from WXMI-TV 17.

Priority Health, a Michigan health insurance provider, launched Priority Pups in September when goldendoodles were placed in two of the state's school districts, "with more to come".

"I love you, Meeka," said Shelby, a student at North Godwin Elementary School who was snuggled up with the pup, which serves in a different classroom every day.

Research shows the presence of a trained dog lowers children's stress, fosters a positive attitude toward learning, and smooths interactions between classmates.

2023 report from Mental Health America found that many youth in Michigan with clinical depression did not receive any mental health treatment.


Shelby's mom, Laurie Uhl, described the difference Meeka is making in her daughter's life.

"Shelby was diagnosed with a genetic disorder called Fragile X Syndrome, along with autism and ADHD. Here at school, she really struggles with a range of emotions.