Since 2018, the school along with North Main Community Association and various community members others, raised over 25 thousand dollars to help out the hospital’s Canine F.E.T.C.H. Unit
The facility dog program is 100% donor funded, and Canine Facility Coordinator, Katelyn Leitner, said she’s happy the school helped out.
“It is truly kids helping kids because this dog will go to work within our children’s hospital systems. So, it will help our kids who come into those areas, and are scared, and are afraid. They’re able to help make that a better experience for them,” Leitner said.
Cookie, a yellow Labrador, is announced the newest member of the Prisma Health FE.T.C.H. Unit with pink confetti at a school assembly.
Cookie has raised the count at the hospital to seven dogs total that are trained to care for patients.
Before Cookie was revealed to Stone Academy students, fifth grade student council class representative Lizzy Stacey was sure Cookie was a boy.
“As you can see my attire. I think it’s going to be a boy dog,” Stacey said, dressed head to toe in blue.
Student council president Asher Way, dressed in pink, understood how important it was for the school to sponsor Cookie.
“When I was in third grade, I was in the hospital, and so it was kinda nice because a few dogs cane in to see me. Like, whenever you’re having a hard time in the hospital these dogs come in and kinda like, build you up,” Way said.
In addition to Upstate students having helped their local hospital, Leitner said the local connections don’t end there for Cookie.
“This dog is actually coming from the Service Dog Institute, which is located in the Upstate of South Carolina. So, it’s a dog from our community, trained by our community, funded by our community, and will work in our community. So, we are so excited about that,” Leitner said.
Both Stacey and Way said this sponsorship has helped the student council teach their younger classmates to just enjoy school.
“It shows the littler kids that its fine, it’s not crazy to dress up and it’s just all fun,” Stacey said.
It also reminded the students how important community support is.
“We just want to say thank you to all the people that helped us, because we couldn’t have done it without all of them. Or else, we just wouldn’t have had this dog,” Way said.
Stone Academy intends to continue giving funds to Prisma Health-Upstate to support Cookie in her job.