Petoskey Poppy

Who is Poppy…? 

Poppy is the therapy dog here at Petoskey High School. She is a golden-doodle and has an easy going disposition. In her off time she LOVES fetch, swimming and playing with other dogs. She has special training to be supportive and help students who are feeling anxious or upset. Poppy offers physical, social/emotional, and cognitive benefits to students. 

What is a Therapy Dog? 

A therapy dog is a well trained dog who spends his or her days in the school with students. The dog may have an assigned classroom or area or can be trained to move from room to room as needed.  Research has shown that therapy dogs support students’ academic and psychological growth, improve physical well being and increase self esteem, especially for students who struggle in social settings. Dogs aid in child's development of empathy and help create a bond between students who may not have many connections. They help promote a climate that is accepting, supportive, and inclusive. 

What does Poppy do…? 

Poppy plays a very important part in the PHS staff. She spends a majority of her time in the counseling office, and is always available to students through the day. Some of her roles at Petoskey High School Include: 

  • Sitting in during student meetings
  • Being available to students facing anxiety, sadness, or stress
  • Offering emotional support to students
  • Facilitating emotional, physical, mental health, and wellbeing through pet therapy 

What are the benefits of therapy dogs…? 

Therapy dogs offer a wide variety of services. The main role of a therapy dog is to react and respond to the people and environment in which they are in. Studies have demonstrated that therapy dogs decrease anxiety, and enhance social engagement. Therapy dogs offer physical, social/emotional, and cognitive benefits to students. 

Physical - Interactions with a therapy dog have shown to reduce blood pressure and respiration rates, provide positive physical stimulation, and assist with pain management. 

Social/Emotional -  Visiting a therapy dog promotes greater self-esteem, and assists in focused interaction with other students and teachers.  Recent national studies have shown that 8-10 percent of students between the ages of 13-18 have some form of an anxiety disorder. However, all students will eventually experience some form of anxiety or accumulated stress.  A therapy dog is there to offer support through these challenging circumstances. 

Cognitive - Therapy dogs have been shown to stimulate memory and brain activity. The offer a sense of calmness and safety 

Long Term Goals of therapy dogs:

  • Increase empathy/compassion - Not only do animals teach responsibility and problem-solving, but they allow us to model empathy. Animals provide a means to see beyond ourselves to others. 
  • Improve self-esteem - Dogs can assist counselors with students who are socially struggling or disconnected from the mainstream student body. 
  • Help the students connect with others - Dogs can help in the reduction of stress and anxiety among children in social settings
  • Reduce anxiety levels- help students/staff to de-escalate after traumatic events.   
  • Help promote a climate that is accepting, supportive and inquisitive - Decrease classes missed due to anxiety and stress. 


Social Media: 
Instagram:  @petoskeyhscounseling
Facebook:  @Petoskey High School Counseling

Jensen’s Animal Hospital - keep’s Poppy healthy and provides Pet Insurance Annually to ensure we can take care of her needs. Shout out Dr. Henning and all the staff at Jensen’s! 

Women Who Care in the Tip of the Mitt - Grant awarded to cover cost of Poppy, training and additional expenses

Wing & Shot, LLC - Poppy’s trainers