Therapy Dogs at YHS

Clover Downs, Writer

Remy the golden retriever with students

As some students may know, YHS is currently running a therapy dog program during PIE time on both Tuesday and Thursday during the last week of the month. This program has been running since March of 2022, but the idea for it began in 2021 during a health class regarding mental health advocacy. After seeing the lasting impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, Zoe Noonan and others decided to bring the idea of therapy dogs visiting the school to the administration. 

A positive response from not only the staff, but peers as well drove Zoe to reach out to the nonprofit organization Pet Partners in hopes that they could put her in touch with some dog handlers interested in participating in the therapy dog program. As it turned out, there were two handlers in the area not only interested, but very excited about participating in this program. These handlers are Martha Gibby with Legend the Lab, and Eileen Hickman (a former Home Economics teacher at the Middle School) with Remy the Golden Retriever. 

Zoe Noonan says, “My favorite part of running this program is that it makes everyone so happy. You can see people instantly smile when they see one of the dogs. The dogs love it too! They get very excited when they see a group of students ready to pet them. I’m glad to have made a positive difference in some small way to the mental health of students here at YHS.”

Legend the Lab greeting Ms. Dennison

This program has been successful from the very beginning, with over 70 signups in March when it first launched. Zoe hopes the program will be able to continue even after she graduates, as it is quite beneficial to the mental health of YHS students. The administration (specifically Mr. Bennett and Ms. Clark) have been not only extremely supportive, but helpful as well in the creation and upkeep of the program. 

If you are interested in signing up to visit the dogs during an upcoming pie time, you can use this link: The next available signup dates are Tuesday, November 29th and Thursday, December 1st.