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Participating Sites

Elementary: Adams, Edison, Hale, Highland Arts, Hughes, Irving, Ishikawa, Johnson, Kerr, Lowell, Madison, Mendoza, Roosevelt, Salk, Sirrine, Taft, Washington, Whittier 

Junior High: Carson, Fremont, Kino, Rhodes, Shepherd, Taylor

High School: Dobson, Mountain View, Red Mountain, Skyline, Westwood

Preschool: Red Mountain Center for Early Education

Choice: East Valley Academy & Crossroads, Mesa Academy

Success: MCS at Jordan, Riverview, SHARP, Superstition 

Other: Community Education, Human Resources

Staff Testimonials

Read about the impact of our dogs on district campuses: Click here
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Our Mission

The Paws & Peers Foundation seeks to support school staff as they choose to rescue compatible shelter dogs for training to become therapy dogs who attend school and provide emotional support, stress relief, and comfort to children and adults.

Why Therapy Dogs?

According to the Adolescent Behaviors and Experiences Survey (ABES) performed by the CDC in 2021, at least 1 in 3 high school students experienced poor mental health during the pandemic and nearly half of students felt “persistently sad or hopeless.” However, study participants who felt they had connections at school had “a lower prevalence of poor mental health.” Therapy dogs can provide an uncomplicated positive connection to school for many students who are experiencing poor mental health.

A meta study from the National Library of Medicine showed that human-animal interactions have well-documented benefits for: social attention and behavior, interpersonal interactions, mood, stress-related parameters (i.e. cortisol, heart rate, blood pressure), and self-reported fear and anxiety.

There is also evidence of: improvement of immune system functioning and pain management and increased trust and reduced aggression toward others

Our therapy dog teams have served hundreds of individual students experiencing trauma, as well as entire campuses of students during evacuation events. On a day-to-day basis our therapy dogs provide a warm welcome to students and staff, reducing stress and improving the climate of the campuses where they serve. Universities, schools, airports, hospitals, and nursing homes are increasingly using therapy dogs to address the effects of trauma, boost mood, and decrease anxiety and stress.

Dobson's Paw Pups

Paws & Peers in the News

Bowie on 12 News:  Click here

Nelly on FOX10: Click here

Walter in East Valley Tribune: Click here

Sawyer in Arizona Republic: Click here

Sawyer in Chicago Tribune: Click here

Walter on FOX10: Click here

Superintendent Steve Watson: Click here

Huck on Univision (Spanish): Click here