Sign In

Toby The Therapy Dog

September 14, 2020

With a new school year underway, there may be students entering the year feeling anxious and overwhelmed.

Scottville Gateway 2 Success Academy also know students may be going through issues in their personal life.

“Sometimes, we see what’s happening on the outside, but there’s so much going on inside of people,” said Superintendent and Principal Jamie Bandstra. “With students that have experienced trauma, they come into a school building and they feel a lot of anxiety and stress.”

G2S wanted students to feel welcomed and supported when they come to school, and weighed the option of having a therapy dog. An anonymous donor paid for both the dog and the training.

“That kinda opened the door to go down that road,” said Bandstra. The future therapy dog needed a billet family, similar to a foster family.

“We were approached as a billet family,” said virtual learning/instruction learning coach Phil Quinlan. “My wife chose the dog. From there, we found the best breeder in the state of Michigan and the best trainer.”

The Quinlans chose a goldendoodle, and let the school name him in a poll. The winning name was Toby.

“We’re responsible for the day-to-day upkeep and love and care for the dog,” said Quinlan. “We are not the owners of the dog, the dog is a D2S student, owned by the G2S Academy.”

Toby went through eight months of training before graduating in August. Toby will be coming regularly to school by the end of September. For now, he’s getting familiar with his new job.

“He’ll be in the classrooms, he’ll be involved in counseling sessions as needed,” said Bandstra. “Could be if a student is having a hard time kind of in a crisis situation he might be part of that solution.”

The students are getting familiar with Toby, as well.

“When he came in the building this week it was really cool to see their reactions to Toby,” said Bandstra. “They kinda of lit up and were wanting to see him and pet him.”

Quinlan gets to see those reactions firsthand.

“There’s not a single head that won’t turn and will say, ‘Toby!’ or want to touch him,” said Quinlan.

Toby took a liking to one student on the first day of school.

“My grade was the first to see Toby and he just like came to me first I guess,” said 9th grader Haley Rose. “I love animals very much so he could probably tell by that.”

Toby’s connection with Haley was moving for Quinlan.

“The thing about Toby…Toby does not judge,” said Quinlan. “To see Toby connect with Haley day one, we won.”

Register your Dog Schedule a Visit

  • Recent News

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogs At School

    Those who own a dog can attest to their ability to lift mood, improve stress and bring joy by simply being there, unanswering, seemingly all-knowing and always delighted to see you.  Therapy animals are known for their calm and comforting nature, giving people a way to relax, de-stress and interact with a loving pet.  They […]

    Read more

    Wonder Dog

    For those of us with dogs, we know they quickly become major parts of the family. You live for and care for just like one of your own children, and one dog right here in Oklahoma City is beating the odds, and helping others recover as a therapy dog, despite all of the issues he’s […]

    Read more

    Scott And Charlie

    Cherokee Middle School students may do a little more “doodling” second semester starting this month (January), but also will improve their attendance marks because of a special attraction at the school, courtesy of Principal Scott Aden. Aden, an effective, caring administrator, has acquired and will house and handle a young female Golden Doodle (Charlie) that […]

    Read more

    Hope For Veterans

    E5 Therapy opened in April with a different way to help veterans in therapy. They offer canine-assisted therapy along with talk therapy to veterans and veterans’ families in Solano County. Owner Matthew Decker is a licensed clinical social worker in Northern California, focused on helping veterans achieve their mental health goals. Along with his team, […]

    Read more