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School in Suffolk welcomes 'Mutts With A Mission' dog to help students, staff

Mutts With A Mission is placing one of its dogs with Nansemond-Suffolk Academy to aid in the mental health of students and staff.

SUFFOLK, Va. — Cuteness alert: Meet Jett.

"She’s a half-golden retriever, half Labrador,” said Brooke Corson, the founder of Mutts With A Mission.

She’s calm, gentle and normally wearing a bright blue vest.

“She’s always been kind of laid back but loves kids,” Corson said.

Jett is part of Mutts With a Mission, a non-profit that trains dogs for disabled veterans, first responders and other organizations. 

But Jett’s job will be much different from dogs trained before her. She’ll work to de-stress students and staff at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy.

“Being here to give the children something to see and pet and just bring some joy to their day,” said Kate Gover, a school counselor for the school.

Students learned of the new school employee Friday during their first in-person Veterans Day celebration since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brooke Corson founded the organization with the hope that it would support veterans like herself. When the idea was brought to her, she thought it would be important to share this experience with students.

“These kids suffer just as the adults have through COVID and things like that, and sometimes you know maybe even more because not only are they having to go through COVID but they are having parents that are deployed," she said.

Jett came by way of two veterinarians, Doctors Kate and Adam Henderson. Adam is a school alum. 

They own Tidewater Animal Clinic and have dealt with Mutts With A Mission for several years

“I spent 8 years on the board of Virginia Tech’s vet school and a couple years as the president. And we instituted doing things like this across Virginia Tech,” he said.

With his kids attending the school, Henderson said why not bring a Mutts With A Mission Dog to the academy?

“We keep having this conversation, what are we doing for mental health, what more could we do for mental health for our kids," Gover said.

"So this is just another layer of on top of the many other things we’re trying to do to help our students through this post-pandemic period.”

Corson said this is the first time the organization has placed a dog with a school. 

She's confident Jett will make a great addition.

“She’s been in schools and she grew up with a family of four kids," she said. "This will be her environment. She’ll love it."

Jett will share an office with school counselors and will go home with a staff member and their family when she gets off of work each day.

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