Gravy is NOT Thanksgiving Dinner

Grand Ledge High School has introduced an Emotional Support Dog into the school building. Welcome to GLHS, Gravy!


Gravy is the main service dog at GLHS. She serves in making the school a safe place for all students to enjoy.

Olivia Schelling, Co-Editor

Grand Ledge Public Schools introduced a new program to influence positive change for the student body. Administration partnered with Canines for Change to impact the lives of students and staff for the better. Canines for Change is a program designed to use dogs as emotional support for those in need. 


Grand Ledge Public Schools placed a dog in each of their 9 buildings including Grand Ledge High School. The first of the dogs were placed in school buildings during July. 


Coming off a pandemic, virtual learning, and emotional rollercoasters, Canines for Change was contacted to improve the learning environment. School may be a stressful place for students, or students may be having home issues that carry with them to school. Nevertheless, the administration strived to find a way to help those who needed it. Studies have proven that the animal-human bond benefits mental and physical health. 


With the addition of the dogs, staff across the district are able to use them for classroom benefits. Teachers are able to “rent out” the dogs for a specific hour during the day. This way, more students obtain a one on one interaction with the dogs. However, the dogs do have specific roles they need to apply to. 


“They provide social and emotional support to students and staff as needed. There is a lot of research around how a dog can impact a person’s well being and how the presence of a well trained dog really helps people that are struggling and need a pick me up. They are trained to provide that social and emotional support.” acclaimed Assistant Superintendent for Academic Services, William Barnes. 


As stated before, school may be a challenging place for students. Focusing and managing tasks may be an aspect in this challenge. The goal of bringing the dogs into the school was to alleviate the discomfort and encourage a safe space for students socially, emotionally, and academically. Administration pushes for the growth and learning of students. 


“Already anecdotally across the district we have heard stories of kids who have been able to stay in class or come into the classroom and just feel better by the dogs. The main thing is it helps kids feel comfortable and manage their emotions in different ways than any other way we’ve had.”

— William Barnes


Grand Ledge High School has adopted its very own dog. The Chocolate Lab running around the school is Gravy. She is the youngest of the dogs in the district, hence why she wears an “in-training” vest. Dean of Students, Mrs. Capra, handles Gravy on a daily basis. Walking her around passing time and making sure she is in various locations throughout the day. As the handler of Gravy, Mrs. Capra is able to have a first hand view of the students’ interactions. 


“It has been amazing to witness both the students and staffs’ positive reactions to Gravy. She brings a smile and laughter to all of those who interact with her. With each day, more and more students are coming up to her asking to pet her and/or play with her. Throughout the day, several staff members stop by the office to give her a pet as well. Many students have told me that seeing Gravy in the halls is the best part of their day and helps decrease their anxiety.” mentioned Mrs. Capra. 


Since the addition of Canines for Change in the school buildings, school has been a much easier place for students to be. Let’s also state the obvious, who wouldn’t want a dog at school? Administration hopes to see a positive impact across the school year. Canines for Change has been very helpful to GLPS. They are able to provide the schools with support through the life of a dog. 


”It’s great that we as a district have an opportunity to partner with an organization like Canines for Change to get this to happen. Being able to take an idea and put it in practice to make an impact requires good partnerships, so I appreciate Canines for Change.” pronounced Barnes.