Dogs Are Changing Lives at This Huntington Beach Elementary School

At Hope View Elementary School in Huntington Beach, children aren’t the only ones preparing for a bright and productive future. Guide dogs are also getting their earliest training here, thanks to schoolteacher Holly Sjogren.

Some years ago, Sjorgen convinced the school board to let her bring guide dogs in training onto campus where they would interact with students. Now, with the district’s blessing and the help of students, Hope View also raises thousands of dollars for the canine training non-profit Guide Dogs of America.

The program earned Hope View a Golden Bell Award from the California School Board Assn. The school won the School Culture and Safety category for promoting a safe and positive school environment.

“I’d love to see it in every school,” Board of Trustees clerk Gina Clayton-Tarvin told the Los Angeles Times. “We feel like this program is like the pinnacle of what you can do to support kids, and to make them feel happy when they’re at school." 

It’s not just Guide Dogs of America and their pups who are benefitting. Sjogren and parents report that children who were once terrified of dogs have ended up making beloved four-legged friends.

The advantages of puppy love are backed up by science. In 2019, Washington State University researchers measured the level of the stress hormone cortisol in 249 participants, including a group that had recently interacted with canines. They found a significant cortisol drop among the individuals who had pet dogs. 

Bring on the puppers!