Commercial Township Therapy Dog To Compete At Westminster Dog Show

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PORT NORRIS, N.J. -

Using a therapy dog in schools can help students learn in a new way, but it’s Commercial Township’s four-legged teacher’s work outside the classroom that’s catching eyes on a national stage.

“We have a 23-month old Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. He is approximately 140 pounds but he is a gentle giant.,” said Dr. Dan Dooley, Superintendent of Commercial Township School District and owner to its therapy dog.

This gentle giant goes by the name of Skye and he works with students in Commercial Township between the ages of four and 13.

“Number one, if we experience or encounter a child who’s having a meltdown, we will take the dog into the room or into the proximately and usually the child will de-escalate,” explained Dooley.

He’s also used as a reward for students on behavioral plans in the district.

“However, it’s kind of spread out. We have a read program and a smile program where Skye goes into classrooms or students go down to Skye, struggling readers or reluctant readers, and then read to him and that not only deals with special education population but our general education students,” said Dr. Dooley.

It’s not just the kids who enjoy their time together.

“He loves it. Any type of attention is good for him. Sometimes you see the students petting him as they’re reading and going through. It’s really soothing for both of them,” expressed Dooley.

However, when this furry little guy is not helping the students in Commercial Township, he’s strutting his stuff in dog shows. He is preparing for his biggest show yet.

“We’re going to Westminster!,” exclaimed Dooley.

The therapy dog will take the stage at the nation’s most prestigious dog show in hopes of winning Best of Breed, a title he’s won at ten of the last eleven shows he’s competed in.

“That confirmation from the judge to show how special he is through the recognition they give him in the ring, it’s something we already know here but it’s nice to hear outside of her,” said Dooley.

No matter what happens on stage, Skye will always be a winner at warming these kids’ hearts.

“We’re excited about the program and the opportunity that it’s provided for students and kind of the impact that it’s had on the community as well,” expressed Dooley. 

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