Bringing a dog into a school is not as easy as it sounds. Comfort/therapy dogs are becoming a popular trend for mental health in schools, police departments, dentist offices, etc. We live in a society in which many people struggle with anxiety and animals have a way of easing our anxiousness. However, we didn’t want to bring in just any dog because this is not a pet. We wanted a highly trained dog. We want the confidence that this dog can serve the purpose of being petted by many students at once, providing comfort needed, and just being present with students on a day-to-day basis. It was also important to have a hypoallergenic dog. Through the process, we learned the difference between a therapy dog and a service dog. Therapy dogs do not have the same rights to be able to go into public spaces, so if we ever wanted to bring our dog on a field trip, for example, this wouldn’t be possible unless we had a service dog. A service dog is trained for a specific task. Service dogs are also able to fly with their handler, which was important since the company we used is in Spokane, Washington.
When learning about the process, we leaned on a family that has a service dog. Foster has been a part of the HCA community for a while now, so the concept is not new for our school but this dog will be accessible to all students. Foster has an important job keeping his handler safe but he is also well loved by our students. We are excited to welcome another service dog to our family!
Do you want to help?
- The food listed is available at Farm and Fleet for a comparable price.
- To receive a tax-deductible donation, please see the bottom of this page for a link to donate!
We are working with Unleashed Academy because they are a highly reputable company that produces well trained service dogs. We interviewed with the company to ensure we were a good match for one another and they are just as excited as we are for what Elvis can do for our HCA community. The hope is that this will spur other schools to do the same–serve students emotional needs through the gentleness of a dog.
A well-trained service animal comes at a price. Elvis is being duel certified as a therapy dog and a service dog. His task is deep pressure therapy. While Mrs. Gray will be Elvis’ handler and he will live in the Gray home, our HCA community will work together to provide for Elvis’ needs. We will speak more on this once school begins.
Many families from Mrs. Gray’s 2022-2023 class (and their persuasive writers;-) have personally met many of the needs already from Elvis’ crate, bedding, toys, and food container. Thank you!
We will have some additional expenses in order to pick up Elvis. Mrs. Gray will be flying to Spokane and training with Elvis for several days. This trip requires the cost of airfare, car rental, hotel, food etc. Plus, the cost of Elvis.
Going forward, there will be monthly expenses such as grooming, pet insurance, and food.
Mrs. Gray is already learning about Elvis’s training via an app used by his trainer. She receives daily videos and modeled instructions to be learned prior to her training with Elvis. Once Elvis arrives at home, there is a 60-90 day acclimation period before he can be at school. We’re hoping to have Elvis in school with us by October.
What can you do in the mean time?
Thank you for your support during this exciting season at HCA!
WHY A SERVICE DOG?
John Stotz was a friend to everyone. He was especially close to many of his classmates. John has attended Harvest Christian Academy, with many of the same peers, since he was three years old. He has attended Harvest Bible Chapel since in the womb.
John’s heart has always been for the lost. It was his mission to tell everyone he came across about Jesus. If you knew John, you knew Jesus, because John was the hands and feet of Jesus–he lived this every day. John loved Jesus above all else but his love for sports and animals ran deep too. John knew just about everything and every player for nearly every sport. His head was so full of sports trivia that he could have given sports announcers a run for their money! John was passionate about animals, especially dogs.
His classmates shared the following about John:
“John was a light to the classroom. He never let anyone feel left out. He made everyone feel special. He loved Jesus more than anything and he wanted everyone to know about Jesus. Even when he could not leave his house anymore, he never stopped having hope that Jesus would heal him. Jesus did heal him but not the way we wanted and it’s okay because John is healed in heaven.”
“John loved baseball. When he got his tumor, he couldn’t play much. He had to stay home. But even though he was cooped up, he found other ways to glorify the Lord. He went to Target and got over 50 toys for lots of children in need. He made videos, sent gifts, and more. When John passed, everyone was mourning. Mr. Young had a great idea to bring dogs in to comfort us! John loved dogs.”
Ready to support this WORTHY cause?
Your donation will help to support the purchase of Elvis, as well as his ongoing needs and maintenance (i.e. food, medicines, vet visits and keeping Elvis well groomed.)