After a long day, sometimes there’s nothing better than coming home to the warmth and companionship of your faithful dog. As soon as you shake their paw, pet their head, and tell them your problems – all the day’s stress just melts away.

As our kids say goodbye to the carefree days of summer, they will once again face the stress that comes along with being a full-time student. Fortunately, as homework piles up, exams loom large, and papers are due – they know they can always count on our trusty facility dog Pongo to make them feel better!

pongo with kids

When school starts back up, one of the busiest areas at Mercy Home during the evenings is our Learning Center. Filled with books, encyclopedias, magazines, and computers, this is where many of our kids find the resources they need to complete assignments. It’s also where the pressures of school can become overwhelming.

“Pongo is such a great therapeutic tool for our youth. You figure they respond well to people – they respond even better to animals sometimes,”

“I’ve been in the learning center before when Pongo is in there and these kids are like, ‘man, I’m having a bad day,’” said Eddie Meredith, a therapist at Mercy Home. “And I’ve heard kids say, ‘now that I’ve seen you Pongo, I feel a lot better.’”

Our kids know that whenever the stress of school starts to weigh heavy on their shoulders, they always have a therapist or a youth care worker they can talk to. We also have a variety of Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment tools, such as weighted blankets.

But sometimes, the love and affection of Pongo is all our kids need to deal with the stress of their schoolwork.

“Pongo is such a great therapeutic tool for our youth. You figure they respond well to people – they respond even better to animals sometimes,” Eddie said. “Some of our guys schedule a meeting or want to see Pongo any time they’re feeling stressed or anxious about something. It’s really cool that we have a therapeutic dog throughout the agency that can just come in and help kids de-stress.”

Summer is a particularly crucial time for our kids at Mercy Home, as we strive to make sure they’re prepared for school and beyond. Thanks to your (and Pongo’s) help, we can continue to guide our youth to their highest goals.

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