Doggie lunch time


Lilly Weegman, Writer

High school can be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. The weight from homework, tests, relationships and reputations can build upon someone over time, and cause issues with stress, anxiety and even depression. It can be difficult to deal with these feelings, but OHS counselor Ms. Margo McKay is here to make a student’s days a little better.

Dogs and lunches-two things everyone loves. McKay currently has two therapy dogs, Trooper and Oakley. When rescuing these two dogs, she realized how helpful they could be to others. Ms. McKay said, “I realized a couple of years ago that I work with a lot of students who are anxious and have a lot of issues with anxiety and depression and panic [attacks], and there’s a lot of research out there that shows that having comfort dogs available helps people feel better.” 

McKay rescued Trooper first. Trooper is a six-year-old yellow lab, who is blind. He was found wandering the streets in Wilmer, Minnesota, and was never claimed by a family after he was brought to a rescue center. Not long after McKay found Trooper, she came across another dog, a red lab named Oakley. When taking care of the dogs, she saw the unique and kind characteristics they both had. McKay said, “Both of them just fit the personality and temperament of being really good therapy dogs. And I just realized what a difference I thought that could make for the kids because I know what a difference it makes for me when I’m feeling sad or down.” McKay decided to have them trained to be certified therapy dogs. She brought the dogs to classes to teach them obedience, and the basics of how to be therapy dogs. 

McKay hopes that letting students spend time with the dogs will help them to relax and calm down from the stress in their lives, and she knows that they can help a lot of the students. McKay said, “When we did our mental health survey last year, over 400 kids marked that they have issues with anxiety, that’s a lot of kids. And right behind that was depression”. Having the dogs available in the school can make a huge difference in the lives of students who need that comfort. 

McKay hopes that students will begin to sign up to see the dogs during their lunches. It’s easy to get to see the dogs. Visit Mrs.Roxi Stewart in the Career Center to get a permission slip that needs to be signed by a parent. Bring back the signed slip, and sign up on the sheet for your lunch. Dog lunches will be happening every Wednesday during all lunches, in room B-109.