A bloodhound named Micah makes a big difference for kids going to school in Foyil.
The K-9 is an emotional support animal, best friend and confidant to hundreds of students.
Even on rainy days you will find school employees, like the elementary principal, greeting kids as they arrive and while the kids love seeing those adults, it is Micah who can turn their day around in seconds.
When asked how special Micah is to him, one elementary student said “really special," giving Micah a big hug.
Micah is a bloodhound who comes to school each day with her owner, Deputy Will Draper, the school resource officer.
They start their day with classroom rounds, and if a student is having a tough time in class, Micah can provide some comfort. She can usually calm a child down in just minutes.
"She is open-minded and she loves any and all," Deputy Draper said. "They will actually message Micah and say 'hey, I was having this issue at home, how do I deal with this?'"
While Micah might be a sweetheart, she is also a highly-trained professional. She is a certified trailing dog, named after a Colorado Police Officer who died in the line of duty.
Micah has become a part of the Foyil family, which came as a shock to Principal Brad Jordan, who wasn't really a fan of dogs at first.
"Okay to be honest, I am not a dog person," Jordan said. "I am not a big dog person."
"He would pet her from a distance," Draper said.
It didn't take long for Micah to win him over, too.
"I never believed dogs could have a calming influence," Jordan said." When Micah walks into a kindergarten room, the stress level goes down. When she walks into our office, the stress level goes down. We are the Foyil Panthers, but Micah is the school mascot. She just brings joy."
"I know who has issues at home, I know who has this and that going on in their life and I go visit them and I take care of them," Draper said. "I make sure that Micah is there to reinforce that we love them and we care about what is going on in their lives."
It might be the eyes, or maybe the floppy ears, but Micah is the heart and soul of this school.
"Being with her and getting to work and interact the way we do and make a difference in the community," Draper said. "What a gift."