A new member of the Creekside team is making her way around the school to introduce herself. Raleigh, a nearly four-year-old golden doodle, is the school’s first therapy dog and she’s already getting top marks from staff and students. Right now, Raleigh visits Creekside one week per month. She’s mainly working in two classrooms to start, but her mom Rachel – a Speech-Language Pathologist at Creekside – has plans to increase her workload.
“We’re doing two additional classrooms each week, and eventually, we might do more school-wide things with her,” said Raleigh’s human Rachel Hayes. “The idea is that you're exposing kids to different things. So, we're hoping to do things like 'let's do yoga with Raleigh’ or ‘read with Raleigh.’”
For now, Raleigh is a nice reward for Rachel’s hard-working students. She motivates them to come to therapy, get excited about progress, adjust to the hard days, and she’s also a great walking partner for students who just need to take a lap around the school.
“They're so gentle with her and like, immediately they're very calm around her,” Rachel explained. “Some of the kids in the hallway need something to cheer them up, and there's Raleigh! So, it's been really positive.”
Raleigh became a certified therapy dog during the height of the pandemic, but she’s always been great with people. You’ll notice her walking around with her work vest on, eager to say hello and meet new friendly faces.
“Raleigh loves coming to school. She runs to the door every morning and I just feel like when she's here, she knows her job and she goes around and just wants to see everybody and make everybody happy.“