A logo for the Pawsitive Peers program, reading Pawsitive Peers with an illustrated dog face in the letter
Banner image features three photos of therapy dogs in action at school sites. The left photo shows a blonde dog wearing a therapy dog vest, sitting on the floor. The middle photo shows a white dog on the left, with a child smiling up at it to its right. The far right photo shows a golden retriever sitting at a desk.

Mesa Public Schools is proud to participate in the Pawsitive Peers Foundation school therapy dog program. The district has partnered with Arizona Humane Society, Arizona Animal Welfare League, and Maricopa County Animal Care and Control to identify compatible shelter dogs for school staff to adopt and have trained to become certified therapy dogs. Participating MPS staff and their dogs, also known as paw partners, pass obedience and therapy classes and are tested and approved using a nationally recognized therapy team evaluation.

Pawsitive Peers seeks to meet the social and emotional needs of Mesa Public Schools students and staff. These dogs serve as a trusted companion in classrooms, and counseling, nurse, or administrative offices for crisis intervention, behavioral de-escalation, or simply to address stress, anxiety and/or isolation.

Pawsitive Peers logo featuring an illustrated dog face in the shape of the letter 'w'

Participating schools

Elementary: Adams, Crismon, Edison, Eisenhower, Highland, Johnson,Red Mountain Center for Early Education preschool, Porter, Madison, Robson, Roosevelt, Taft, Whitman, Whittier

Junior high: Carson, Fremont, Kino, Rhodes, Taylor

High school: Dobson, East Valley Academy, Mountain View, Red Mountain, Westwood


We're in good company!

Though we have one of the largest school therapy dog programs in the nation, we're not alone. We are in good company with the following organizations who also use therapy dogs to support their mission:

  • Phoenix Children's Hospital
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport
  • Hospice of the Valley
  • Mercy Gilbert Medical Center
  • Phoenix Police Department
  • Banner Health

Meet the dogs at Dobson High School