BY MAIJA SHEA
Unlike service dogs, a therapy dog is more than allowed to be touched because they are trained to provide affection, comfort and love to those who need it. A few years ago, Milton District High School occasionally hosted therapy dogs during exam times to comfort students who were feeling anxious or stressed about their final assessments. Now, there are two pups who pay weekly visits and are adored by many of the staff and students in the school.
Macy and Lola are both certified therapy dogs who are an important part of the community inside and out of the walls of MDHS, but most students don’t know the background of their furry peers and why they visit the school.
A docile golden retriever, Macy is one of the sweetest dogs there is. She is nine years old and lives a relaxed life with Ms. Kilgour and her family. For two years, Macy has been part of the Mustang family, visiting almost every week.
A year and a half ago, Macy became a certified therapy dog with St John’s Ambulance. She volunteers on Tuesday nights in Milton at the Allendale Long Term Care Facility and loves it just as much as she loves coming to school. She is naturally a friendly old soul, and her therapy dog training ensures that she won’t be aggressive with the people that she works with. Having experience with kids and with old folks, Macy is pleasant with everyone she meets.
Outside of her work life, Macy loves to spend time at the cottage and walking Ms. Kilgour’s daughter home from school. She gets her exercise by swimming and chasing squirrels. Her lifestyle is very laid back, and she far prefers a leisurely walk over going for a run. Though there is a life of luxury for her at home, she remains to be one of the few who is excited to go to school in the morning. Everyone could learn a thing or two about relaxing from Macy!
Those who haven’t been lucky enough to meet Macy can find her on Fridays around room 103. In the mornings, she loves to greet students coming into the school so much that she often carries her own leash in her mouth to walk herself wherever she pleases. It brightens Macy’s day and your own to stop by and say hello to her while travelling to class. Don’t forget to say good morning to Ms. Kilgour too!
Macy also has an Instagram account (@therealmacyk) full of photos of everyday Macy life. Be sure to follow for doggie content.
Photos found on @therealmacyk
Although Macy has been a visitor longer, Lola is equally as adored and a big part of MDHS life. She is an eleven-year-old Siberian Husky belonging to Ms. Potocki. Her eyes have beautiful heterochromia, meaning each one has a different colouration. Lola is also a weekly visitor and a colleague of Macy’s at Allendale.
Ms. Potocki and her husband, Brian, trained Lola to be the very well-behaved canine she is today. She was a little bit naughty as a puppy, and she loved to run free at any chance she could. She would find a way to go over or under the fence in the backyard to wreak havoc chasing the neighbourhood kitties or to explore. With age and good training, Lola became a calm and collected dog who volunteers and visits students weekly.
At home, Lola has a brother and a sister to play with. Seamus the ginger cat and Chica the shepherd-collie mix make up the rest of the furry friends living in the Potocki household. Lola is an athletic girl who loves to go for hikes and nature walks. Running the small animals and even catching a fish out of the river, Lola is a hunter and a chaser by nature.
Lola visits on a different day than Macy, which is Tuesday every week. She can be found with Ms. Potocki around the science office or travelling the halls between the classrooms. Feel free to stop by and greet her and Ms. P on your way class.
Photos by Ms. Potocki