Welcome Helix's New Facility Dog, Duchess!

  • At Helix, we prioritize the mental health of our community and know that social and emotional stressors can impact all aspects of one’s life making it difficult to learn or perform at one’s best. In the last few years, we have taken many steps to help increase the well being of our students and staff, including transforming our old Admin building into a Wellness Center, hiring 4 full time Social Workers and offering a mental health referral service.


    We are always looking for new ways to provide support for our students and staff. This year, we are excited to introduce Duchess, Helix’s new facility dog! A facility dog is expertly trained to work with a professional in the school setting to accomplish student and staff-related goals.


    Read more about how Duchess is a hit in the latest La Mesa Courier article!



    Duchess, is a 3 year old Golden Lab. Lauren Knuth, Community Relations, adopted her through Pawsitive Teams, an accredited organization that trains and places service, therapy & facility dogs. Three Helix staff members went through intensive training to become dog handlers and to learn how she can best serve our community. Duchess will split her time between the Wellness Center with Ms. Camonayon, the Administration Building with Ms. Brown and the Library with Ms. Knuth.


    Frequently Asked Questions/Concerns:


    1. What are the benefits of having a facility dog on campus?

    Facility dogs provide social and emotional support, reduce anxiety and blood pressure and increase Oxytocin, the mood-boosting hormone. They can help students and staff feel confident, comfortable, and safe which supports a healthy learning environment. Many schools, police departments, medical centers, courthouses and other institutions have implemented facility dogs into their settings with positive results.


    1. What if my child is allergic or afraid of dogs? 

    Students will work with Duchess on a voluntary basis and we will maintain a Do Not Contact list. Duchess will continue to have a thorough grooming regime. She has also undergone extensive training to remain calm and gentle around all people. If you would like to request that your student not be around Duchess for any reason, please contact your Grade Level Team.