Treasure House’s Certified Community Service Dog Pays a Visit to IDD at Moon Valley High School

Treasure House serves as a beacon of light not just for its residents, but for the entire local disability community. “Our nonprofit is constantly looking for ways to serve Arizona’s differently abled, which is why we were pleased at the opportunity to bring our resident certified community service dog, Murphy, to interact with members of the IDD community at Moon Valley High School”, said Lauri Tanner, Treasure House CEO.

On February 23rd, Murphy and Lauri headed to Moon Valley High School (MVHS) to get to know seven students and various staff. The MVHS Multiple Disabilities Student Program serves a profoundly impacted teenage population. Service dogs are ideal working tools for their disabled partners to gain independence. They decrease stress and anxiety, increase mobility and simply put – bring sheer joy and delight.

“During the pandemic, the students have continued in-person classes five days a week but any non-classroom activities have been non-existent,” said Sandy Margetis, Treasure House Board Member and nurse at Moon Valley High School. “Having Murphy attend an outdoor event with the students seemed to be a perfect way to gradually ease into extracurricular experiences again. His intuition in how to gently approach our students while engaging tactile, visual and auditory senses seemed to compliment the teachers’ lesson plans.”

The students were thrilled to see Murphy. “I could hear the squeals of happiness from 200 yard out once the students spotted our beautiful yellow Labrador,” said Lauri. “Murphy loves playing to a crowd by showing off his tricks. He receives lots of treats and applause.”

Murphy has worked with Lauri since 2016, when he was just over two years old. He is highly trained in health care for children and young adults to manage anxiety and depression in people with disabilities by providing emotional support and distraction, and he encourages physical activity. He has worked with hundreds of individuals – Murphy started his ‘career’ working with Lauri at a Children’s Hospital in the Midwest.

“In a time when we’ve all had to deal with social distancing, these students may have suffered the most from lack of closeness,” said Sandy. “Furry hugs, paw pats and doggie acrobatics certainly helped to fill the void. We hope this is the first of many Treasure House and Murphy visits!”

If your school or organization could benefit from a visit with Murphy, please email info@treasurehouse.orgp