Dogs support students through ruff weeks of testing

Sally+the+golden+retriever+smiles+while+being+pet+by+students+at+lunch.

Noelle Erslovas

Sally the golden retriever smiles while being pet by students at lunch.

The arrival of CAASP testing and AP tests has created the perfect opportunity for a de-stressing event. On April 14, Carlmont brought in the Peninsula Humane Society with three therapy dogs for students to relax and bond with amidst their rigorous school lives.

Naomi Newman, the owner of Brody, a border collie mix, has volunteered at events like these for 12 years.

Brody has been to numerous schools ranging from high schools like Carlmont to elementary and middle schools like Baywood and Borel. Brody also enjoys different activities, from reading with little kids to hanging out with students.

Students meet Brody, the border collie mix. “I loved the dogs so much I wish they always had them in the quad!” said Daniela Colaizzi, ’24. (Noelle Erslovas)

Newman enjoys that she can share her dog with other people to make them happy.

“When I was a kid, I didn’t have a dog, and I would have loved to have this event at my school,” Newman said.

Buddy, a four-year-old golden retriever mix, has attended these events with his owner Leslie Davis for almost two years.

The lockdown put Davis’s trips to visit places like schools and hospitals on hold for a while, but Davis and Buddy were happy to sign up for them once it was safe for the events to reopen. 

When she first got Brody, Davis’s happiness proved to be a reward for the joy she can now bring to other people with Brody as a therapy dog.

“I had gotten Brody from a rescue group, and from the very first day I got him, he always had to say hi to everyone. I didn’t even have to train him to be a therapy dog, and, in a way, the therapy dog training trained me. He already knew what to do. I was just the chauffeur,” Davis said.

I didn’t even have to train him to be a therapy dog. In a way, the therapy dog training trained me.”

— Leslie Davis

Davis and Buddy visit various places like assisted living and seeing hospice patients.

“It’s just the smile on their face and the joy it brings them that I love. It’s a rewarding experience for both of us,” Davis said.

Will Won, a sophomore at Carlmont, got the opportunity to meet one of the dogs at the event and enjoyed his experience considerably.

“I enjoyed seeing the dogs,” Won said.  “It was very calm and made the room feel very peaceful.”

The third and final dog to visit this event was Sally, an 11-year-old golden retriever, and her owner Joe Neswick.

Therapy dog Buddy lays happily on the floor as he is pet by students. (Noelle Erslovas)

Neswick and Sally also visit different schools and libraries for children to read to her.

“I like all of these events because she’s such a friendly dog, and you might as well get some good use out of her with other people,” Neswick said.

Overall, these therapy dogs’ positive effects on their environments can help both the people they’re with and the owners who take care of them.

“If it works out for me to take my dog places where he can provide some love and happiness to people, then I’m happy to do it, and he’s just as happy to do it as well,” Newman said.