MENASHA, Wis. (WFRV) – This week, the Menasha School District got a new staff member, three-year-old therapy dog Prada.

“We’ve noticed a lot of mental health needs, especially the past few years since COVID-19, students experiencing anxiety and things like that, so we were really thinking that Prada could bring a calming presence to our building,” Menasha High School counselor and Prada’s handler Lauren Schultz said.

The golden retriever & yellow lab mix greet students in the hallways and comfort the ones who visit the counselor’s office.

“Teachers too, a lot of times they’ll stop in here when they need a little break,” Schultz said.

Prada also helps those with disabilities develop life skills as they take her out for walks, brush her, and fill her water bowl.

“Sometimes students that are a little bit more reserved or a little quieter come out of their shells when they see her, so it’s cool to see those different dynamics,” Schultz said.

There has been a lot of buzz in the hallways as Prada greets students, and getting to visit her in the counselor’s office can make a big difference, students and staff say.

“It’s going to bring some students so much comfort, and I think that’s just great,” junior Eve Rausch said. “Because you never know what someone else is going through.”

Currently, Prada is based at the high school, but she will visit the other schools in the district more frequently as she becomes more acclimated to her role.

“We’ve had her with everything from our elementary kids to our high schoolers, and everybody really loves being around her,” Schultz said.

Schultz says that Prada’s ability to comfort others is almost like a sixth sense.

“She definitely picks up on the energy and knows ‘this person needs me,’” she said. “Instantly, faces just light up when they see her walking around.”