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  • Writer's pictureBranch County Community Foundation

Our Impact: School Therapy Dog

Our Impact is a series of articles highlighting stories from our recent annual report in which we share some of the ways we've invested in our communities over our last fiscal year. We hope you find inspiration in these stories of needs met, people helped, organizations supported, and lives changed.


School Therapy Dog

The Youth Advisory Council awarded Bronson Community Schools a two-year grant to fully fund the Emotional Support K9 (ESK) program for the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 school years.

This unique therapeutic resource benefits students from kindergarten through twelfth grade at Bronson Community Schools. Maggie, the therapy dog, spends most of her time at the Jr/Sr High, but she is available to all grade levels in times of crisis or when a staff member requests its service.

Maggie received her license in 2017 and began her work as an ESK at Pansophia Academy in Coldwater. When Maggie’s owner and handler, Haley Houtz, moved to a position in Bronson Community Schools, she knew Maggie would be a great asset there. “Having a therapy dog in school isn’t going to stop kids from feeling sad or experiencing bad things, but it will prevent many of them from feeling alone. It will also help the school guidance counselors connect with students and hopefully help kids open up to adults around them”.

Maggie’s impact on the student body at Bronson Community Schools since the start of the 2022-2023 academic year has been remarkable. Haley reports that Maggie has been a tremendous help in bringing students who elope from class or escalate back to the classroom.

Along with helping calm many new students who have entered the district, she has helped de-escalate many behavioral situations in the elementary building. She provides a calming atmosphere for middle school classrooms as well. Maggie has even helped outside of classroom needs, supporting students who were in fear of going to dentist appointments.


Read more about the impact we're making in Branch County and Colon in our 2022 Annual Report and see what your donation dollars can achieve when you partner with the Branch County Community Foundation.


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