Posts with tag: "Webster Schroeder High School"
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
By Hayes Photography
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My husband and I rescued Julius (then, “Cotton”) 5 years ago from Lollypop Farm. He looked nothing like himself. Long, matted hair, underweight frame, and the saddest eyes. Julius’ humanesque eyes made me fall in love instantly. He spoke about his fear and pain through his eyes. Previously abused and neglected, it took a bit of time for Julius to approach people, to not flinch when someone reached out a hand too quickly, and to learn how to fetch. Over a year, we helped him transform back into the dog he is today. When comparing pictures from the day we brought him home and from a year later, the physical changes are undeniable...especially in his eyes. 

Those who interact with Julius always make the same comment: “He is so calm”. Not a common characteristic of Golden-doodles; I have to believe his past shaped that part of him. His calmness is the reason we pursued therapy dog certification. Therapy dogs in schools are well supported by the research, citing benefits such as reducing anxiety, facilitating communication, and improving reading confidence. From every student interaction with Julius comes the opportunity to share his story, and in sharing his story I believe he has taught students some valuable life lessons that just cannot be captured in the research.

1. Be sure to make time to play.

2. Always get excited when someone you love walks into the room.

3. Essentials to being happy: eating, exercise, playing, cuddling, napping

4. Joy is found in the simplest things.

5. You are allowed to feel sad when someone you care about leaves. It is okay to wait for them to 

    come back.

6. Forgive quickly and fully.

7. Trust can always be regained with a little patience and a lot of love. There are no lost causes. 

8. Second chances change lives. 

I feel so much joy and fulfillment when watching students’ faces light up the moment Julius walks into a class, or hearing “I so needed this!” after spending a few quiet moments with him. Julius’ presence at Schroeder is just as therapeutic to me as it is to the students. He loves many things: rolling in the grass, playing with tennis balls, going for walks. But one of his favorite things is being surrounded by a group of people who are giving him all their attention and love. In those moments, there is no past or future. There is no judgement. Race, religion, gender, not exist. It is only the presence of love that matters.


Hannah Formella

Speech Pathologist Teacher

Webster Schroeder High School



Dog Therapist

Webster Schroeder High School

It was so much fun working on this portrait with Hannah and Julius! The smiles on the student's faces when Julius arrived made it so clear why dog therapy is such a valuable resource in our schools. 

Let us know what you think and make sure to say hi to this dynamic duo!


Wednesday, April 01, 2020
By Hayes Photography
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Meet Meredith! This Webster Schroeder senior was a true delight to get to know. Mom informed me during our initial conversation that Meredith has Downs Syndrome and suffered a stroke last year which left her with a fear of strangers. Fortunately, we were able to meet in advance for her to get to know me and to talk about location and clothing. Ultimately, we decided that photographing the session at her home would be the best bet to allow her to feel the most comfortable.

This young lady has so much joy in her heart. To see her hug her "Bear" brought a smile to my face. Mom, dad and sister Katie helped to make our time together go smoothly and I was even able to convince Katie to be in a few shots. When I asked mom what she'd like people to know about Meredith, she said "Where do I begin! She loves family parties, babies and handing out candy to the little kids on Halloween. She has a way of bringing out the best in people and is the most delightful human in the world! I  would have to agree with that sentiment!!!


I wanted to include the following poem because I felt so touched by what it said.

Down Syndrome Creed

My face may be different
But my feelings the same
I laugh and I cry
And I take pride in my gains
I was sent here among you
To teach you to love
As God in the heavens
Looks down from above
To Him I'm no different
His love knows no bounds
It's those here among you
In cities and towns
That judge me by standards
That man has imparted
But this family I've chosen
Will help me get started
For I'm one of the children
So special and few
That came here to learn
The same lessons as you
That love is acceptance
It must come from the heart
We all have the same purpose
Though not the same start
The Lord gave me life
To live and embrace
And I'll do it as you do
But at my own pace

                                                                                                                   Author Unknown


A heartfelt thanks to Meredith and her family for choosing me to photograph her senior portrait session. All the best Meredith!

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