The Arrow Fund brought dogs to Manual High School on May 8 for students to de-stress with, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.
There were three dogs always available for a maximum of 13 students to pet at one time for a two hour period. The dogs were changed out every two hours so students had different dogs to interact with. Emily Huffman (12, MST), was the lead organizer of the event.
“I just noticed that our students have a whole lot of issues with stress, people get ulcers and stomach issues, some people have to miss school and some people I know even grew grey hair so we wanted to do a thing to reduce all the stress students get during AP week and make them feel relaxed,” Huffman said, “I know a lot of universities around the world bring in dogs for their students to pet so I wanted to do that at our high school.”
Huffman discussed how the event was made possible.
“So I asked The Arrow Fund to come down because they do these events all the time where they bring in dogs for students to pet and hopefully adopt,” Huffman said, “We’re just getting out the message of The Arrow Fund and giving our students a chance to pet dogs in the process,” Huffman said.
The Arrow Fund is a small non-profit organization based out of Louisville that rescues animals that have been severely abused or tortured and rehabilitates them in order to find them adoptive home.
Thom Ham, Kelley Luckett and Karen Mitchell are workers for The Arrow Fund who brought the animals to Manual.
“We’re very active in evaluating and pursuing a change in Kentucky legislation that has to do with the cruel and inhumane treatment of animals,” Mitchell said, “Kentucky for the 9th year, is rated the worst for animal protection laws, so we are a haven for abusive behavior to dogs.”
The Arrow Fund and Huffman believed that this is good for the students.
“Our students will be a lot happier and more prepared to take their exams and feel healthier as well,” Huffman said.
“I think this teaches compassion and also spreads the word, we also really believe that dogs are good for the human spirit so that’s really the main thing we’re here to do is to help you guys with your finals,” Luckett said.
Students at Manual entered a raffle to be able to pet the dogs.
“So this was open to all the students of Manual but we couldn’t have everyone pet the dogs because that would put stress on the dogs while de-stressing the students and that’s not good, so everyone was allowed to put their names in a raffle for spots to be able to participate in this so 12 or 13 kids participate in each spot so there is an ample amount of students to pet each of the dogs,” Huffman said, “There are 20 minute shifts for everybody so we are able to reach around 260 students with these 20 minute slots.”
Huffman started working on this event in September with the help of the student senate and Principal Jerry Mayes.
“Emily came to me with the idea and I ran it by with the district and there were no red flags, but I’m always looking for things that will help our students and I thought it would be worth a try,” Mayes said, “Pets have a certain way of tapping into our inner being that sometimes gets covered up with the day to day minutiae and pets have a way of bringing that out of us.”
“The biggest thing to keep this going at Manual is to join student senate, we are the ones who put this on and organized this so the more people we have active in student government, the more types of programs like this that we can implement,” Huffman said.
Madisyn Morris (10, J&C), discussed her experience with the dogs.
“You see the dogs and you get really excited and the more you play with them the happier you get so you just kind of forget everything else that’s going on and you can focus on the dogs,” Morris said, “With all the AP testing and the finals, it’s just good, like the purpose was definitely met by de-stressing students.