The student news site of Plainfield High School Central Campus

The Fielder

The student news site of Plainfield High School Central Campus

The Fielder

The student news site of Plainfield High School Central Campus

The Fielder


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Mooch ‘the helpful pooch’ relaxes students, staff

A student is headed to class to take a long-awaited exam, dreading the next hour to come. One bad grade can prove malicious to their class average, after all. As the student turns the corner, they see a dog’s tail thumping on the floor excitedly, and suddenly their anxieties have been tossed aside. It’s Mooch!

Mooch is a certified service dog who joined the staff in January of 2022. She was trained for two years through the Indiana Department of Corrections (ICAN) where she was taken care of by two inmates. 

There, dogs such as Mooch are taught to turn on lights, open doors, retrieve items, and accommodate other human needs according to the Indiana Department of Corrections.

When she is not lounging in her dog bed, playing with toys, or enjoying the outside air on a walk, Mooch receives affection from students during the school day.

“I feel like Mooch is a celebrity,” Ann Tumpane, SE teacher, said.  “Anytime I walk down the halls with Mooch there are students talking about her or calling out her name.”

Apart from juggling the responsibilities of a normal dog, Mooch provides comfort to students and staff alike when they are in need of an emotional boost. 

“Mooch’s main job is to provide comfort and support,” Kimberly Gregorec, special education division chair, said. “She helps reduce anxiety and helps students feel comfortable and safe when they may not feel that way in other situations.”

Mooch’s charm is not merely a statement; her mood-boosting qualities have been proven. According to 10 Benefits of Having a Dog, According to Scientific Research (,  “Scientists at Washington State University discovered that petting a dog for just 10 minutes can have a significant impact. Study participants had a significant reduction in cortisol, a major stress hormone.”

“Research shows that having a dog has a positive impact on mental health, and that’s our Mooch! I have heard students say, ‘Mooch is my best friend,’” Patricia Danko, social worker, said.

Mooch does not only cater to students; staff also benefit from her positive attitude.

Being a teacher can be an emotionally exhausting job, but a little Mooch magic brightens them right back up,” Danko said. 

Regardless of her status as a service dog, Mooch is always willing to accept belly rubs from students and give relaxation in return.

“Mooch has a way of absorbing your problems and delivering back a sense of calm, even if that relief is just for a short while,” Tumpane said.

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Holly Winiars, Copy Editor
Salutations! The name is Holly Winiars, and this year I'm dead-set on eliminating (most of) the grammatical errors from The Fielder. When I'm not doing that, I'll probably be in your face bragging about my dogs.

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