When a local Title 1 elementary school began fundraising for a full-time therapy dog, Mike Dolan knew he and his Mohegan Lake, NY PetSmart team had to help.
Van Cortlandtville Elementary is home to around 50 highly sensitive students who participate in a specialized program to support their unique needs. After participating in a visiting therapy dog program, school administrators recognized the impact a highly trained dog could have on their students. The school immediately began fundraising to help acquire enough funding to introduce their own full-time therapy dog.
Mike and his team at PetSmart heard about the school’s efforts and nominated them for a $5,000 PetSmart Charities field grant. Field grants are given to local nonprofits dedicated to preserving the bond between pets and people.
With the aid of Mike and his team, a supplemental grant from PetSmart Charities and fundraising by the school’s Future Business Leaders of America program, the funds were finally raised! In January 2019, Van Cortlandtville Elementary welcomed Laser, a 21-month-old Labrador, to its campus. Laser was trained and ready to comfort students and provide them opportunities to grow and learn, and according to the school’s principal, Jacqueline Woodruff, “From day one Laser has had a positive impact here.”
To honor Laser and their local PetSmart, Van Cortlandtville Elementary held a school-wide celebration on April 30, National Therapy Animal Day. They honored the role Laser has played in enhancing the well-being of the school and thanked their local PetSmart for the impact our associates made on the student body.