Sign In

New Therapy Dog Becomes Family

May 21, 2020

St. Marys Area School District Superintendent Brian Toth is undergoing training with a Goldendoodle named Brooklyn who will help bring calming smiles to the lives of students, he says.

Toth recently created a “GoFundMe” page, requesting support to fund the cost of Brooklyn and her training. He contacted “New Hope Assistance Dogs,” a charitable training organization, he said, and has begun the process with Brookyln, who lives with him and his family.

So far, the page has raised $715 of its $5,000 goal.

“I interact with students who are victims of stress, anxiety and trauma. I want to make a difference in their emotional lives,” Toth said.

At the January SMASD board meeting, Toth reported one puppy out of a litter of Goldendoodles was being reserved to serve the district as a therapy dog.

When it came to taking Brooklyn in himself, Toth says his family lost their last dog about three years ago.

“We knew another dog was in our future,” he said.

At the school leadership conference in 2019, Toth met “Centennial Jake,” a therapy dog in the Centennial School District.

“I decided that our next dog would be a therapy dog to bring to school and help to reduce stress and anxiety for students,” he said. “I thought this would be a unique role for a superintendent, so I took the lead.”

Brooklyn has been introduced to three of Toth’s grandchildren, and she loved their attention, he says.

“She was very gentle with them,” he said. “Brooklyn likes to be held and hugged. She loves to play fetch. She’s a snuggler and cuddler.”

Toth posted photos and videos on the GoFundMe page, including one of her playing fetch and enjoying the snow.

“My intent is once she is fully trained to bring her to school, visit students experiencing anxiety and stress and hopefully bring a calming smile to their lives,” Toth says on the GoFundMe page. “I cannot change the home lives of students, but I can change how their lives at school can be made better.”

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Former Victoria man’s diabetic alert dog helps him get back to life

    When Luke Hengen’s diabetes worsened in his early twenties, it stripped him of the outdoor activities where the country kid felt at home. Countless wilderness adventures and years of hard-fought football games took a toll on his body, to the point where he could no longer sense when his blood sugar was too high or […]

    Read more

    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

    Puppy Cams

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more