Viking Puppy Project
About the Project
It all started with Annabelle, a nervous little Yorkie, and a trip to Vale Park Animal Hospital.
During the visit, Dr. Bill Donohue and school superintendent, Dr. Julie Lauck, began talking about the importance of having therapy dogs in schools. Dr. Donohue mentioned that he sponsored June, a therapy dog serving students and staff at Flint Lake Elementary.
Dr. Lauck made the comment, “I’d have dogs in all of our schools if I could.” Dr. Donohue proceeded to tell her about a client of his with a golden retriever that was about to give birth to a litter of 10. With a smile on her face, Superintendent Lauck looked at Dr. Donohue and said, “I’ll get most, if not all, of them placed in our schools.”
So it began…
On Wednesday of the following week, we learned that two of the pups had already been promised elsewhere, but eight were still going to need homes. Through conversation and a quick email to the leadership team, Dr. Lauck quickly secured eight handlers for these pups plus three potential handlers that were put on a wait list.
By early the next day, Dr. Lauck secured over $12,000 in sponsorships for the purchase of the pups, and initial supplies and training needs. The instant and palpable buzz around this project was amazing! The handlers and the sponsors began to offer their selection of dog names, ideas about additional sponsorships, projects, and community connections that could be beneficial with this program.
We know that therapy dogs are in schools throughout the country, and we know the positive impact they can have for both students and staff. What is unusual about this particular program is that the district will have dogs in all of the schools this coming year. To make it even more unique, nine of the dogs in the schools are all from the same litter.
Join us as we watch the newest Vikings grow and become part of the VCS team!