EDWARDSVILLE — The Metro East Humane Society (MEHS) forms a partnership with Edwardsville Community District 7 Schools through a puppy-teacher playdate program.

The program began last year when teachers were experiencing more stress and increased workloads during times of uncertainty in the pandemic. MEHS began bringing in puppies into the schools for “puppy therapy” where the staff was able to relax and decompress by playing with them.

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Mark Tschudy, Prevention Counselor at Lincoln Middle School, is a longtime supporter of MEHS and serves on its board of directors. “The partnership between District #7 schools and the Humane Society has been incredibly rewarding for our staff and students. Experiences like these not only create a more positive work environment for our staff, but we also allow a few minutes at the beginning for students to interact with the puppies,” stated Tschudy. “Their enthusiasm and excitement are so great to see! During times like these, it’s so wonderful for our students and staff to be able to participate in such a truly positive experience.”

The schools that have participated in the program are Lincoln Middle School, Liberty Middle School, Goshen Elementary School, and Edwardsville High School. Last year, two puppies that came in were adopted by Lincoln Middle School staff members within the same week.

“This partnership has been so fun for us!” said Anne Schmidt, MEHS Executive Director. “We love seeing how excited staff is to spend time with puppies, and we’re so happy to provide them that experience. This also allows us to get animals additional socialization before they become available for adoption, so it’s really a win for everyone.”

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District #7 students have supported MEHS by collecting supplies, raising funds and volunteering at the Humane Society on a weekly basis. Last week, the Lincoln Middle School cross country team held a fundraiser for MEHS where runners collected pledges. The runners collected $2,688 to help MEHS continue to place homeless animals into caring homes.

If your school or workplace is interested in a puppy playdate program with MEHS, please contact Amanda Kernan, MEHS Development Manager, at 618.792.8137 to learn more about partnership opportunities with MEHS.

About MEHS:

MEHS provides adoption, foster, low-cost veterinary services, humane education, and trap-neuter-return services to a five-county area in southwestern Illinois. Throughout its 35-year history, MEHS has placed thousands of dogs and cats with forever families, including more than 906 dogs and cats so far this year. To learn more about MEHS and its mission, please visit: www.mehs.org.