A Middle School’s Greatest Resource

Therapy dog Stuart works along side school counselor


Courtesy of @stu_depue on Twitter

Being a second mascot for Millard North Middle School, Stuart the Therapy Dog meets with students and staff. Formerly being a home dog, Stuart received certification to work alongside his owner, Eric Depue. “Just having his presence there he really has a calming presence,” Depue said.

Michelle Zhang, Staff Reporter

Entering the Counselor’s Office at Millard North Middle School, people are met with a receptionist and a large gray dog. Going by the name of Stuart, the canine works alongside owner and school counselor Eric Depue. 

The English Sheepdog visits the school twice a week and interacts with individuals by showing support during times of need, whether that be a bad day or a problem at home.

 “Stuart has the ability to fill a role for a lot of people who are in distress or help,” Depue said. “He’s never gonna judge you. He’s never gonna be mean to you he fills a role for everyone.”

As a member of the Counselor’s Office, Stuart often helps students cope with stress whether it ranges from at home problems to a bad grade on a test. The canine is able to relieve and bring energy back into students and faculty members.

“For those who have never seen a therapy dog in action, all it takes is a few minutes to realize that he makes a huge impact, a really positive impact,” Depue said.

Because of Stuart’s ability to diffuse people’s emotions, he works alongside Depue for the Millard district’s crisis team. Here, the duo travels around the district during times of need to hold sessions for students in need of help.

“Stuart does my job for me in that department, so if you have someone who comes who’s emotional, upset, angry, a lot of times they come in, Stuart is a bridge between me and that person,” Depue said.

Stuart is able to help distinguish bad emotions and help create an environment where people feel safe and secure. Because of this, he is able to travel around the district to help support schools in need of help. Stuart and Depue are the only dog team on the Millard Public School’s Crisis team.

“Unfortunately, we’ve been to Millard West, I’m sure some of your students have seen and remember Stuart when he’s been there,” Depue said. “But in the situation that there is a crisis, we go and we’ll just be emotionally supportive for staff and students.”

Since Stuart joined the district, he has been able to help many different schools cope with circumstances by showing affection and support. He helps redirect and relieve the stress among individuals. Although he is 11 years old, Stuart still brings the joy that a puppy may provide to others.