MacKillop’s puppy love for Millie

Millie takes part in the MacKillop Family Services program. Last week, she met with Caroline Chisholm Catholic College students (left to right) Yajet, Garang, Kieran and Richard, pictured with Sarah Castle (centre). Photo by Marco De Luca

By Alesha Capone

Millie the Labrador is helping to brighten the lives of children in Melbourne’s west.

An education therapy dog, nine-year-old Millie is a regular visitor at MacKillop Specialist School in Maidstone where she is the star attraction of the Paw Pals program.

Run by MacKillop Family Services, the program helps to engage children across the west who are struggling.

Millie often accompanies children who feel anxious about entering classes or school.

MacKillop Specialist School principal Anne Henderson said Millie’s presence had led to “remarkable” changes in some students.

“One young man who previously refused to open his door to our education workers gets so excited about Millie’s visits that he plans in advance what books he will read to her,” she said.

The only problem for MacKillop is that Millie is in such demand that they cannot keep up.

The organisation is hoping to raise $200,000 to train more dogs and will host a matched giving day called Paws 4 Kids on Wednesday, March 6. The 24-hour campaign is asking for donations from the public, which will be matched four-fold by “matchers” including the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.

So a $25 donation, will be turned into a $100 donation by one of the matchers.

Visit to make a donation.