A local elementary school has received a grant that will help bring the first therapy dog to the Howell Public Schools district.

The Three Fires Elementary Cognitively Impaired Program applied for a grant from The Howell Education Foundation for The Pawsitivity Project: First Therapy Dog in Howell Public Schools and received $10,000 to help fund the project. The grant was funded through a directed contribution by a private donor, which means that the donor contributed $10,000 to the Howell Education Foundation to be specifically used to fulfil the grant request. The district’s Board of Education formally accepted the grant at a recent meeting.

The Pawsitivity Project is a nonprofit organization based in St. Paul, Minnesota. It is dedicated to rescuing and training dogs as therapy animals for people with disabilities. The project is said to align with district-wide Social and Emotional Learning core values as therapy dogs are known to increase motivation for learning, support students with social and emotional needs, increase school attendance and student confidence, and decrease student anxiety.

Staff members will be able to invite the dog into their classrooms, and the dog will be available for one-on-one time with students. The therapy dog will also attend special district events. (DK)