COMMERCIAL TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) — When Commercial Township Schools Superintendent Dan Dooley brings his dogs Skye and Hope to school, it’s time to suit up and get to work.
Skye, 3, spends up to 40 hours a week as a therapy dog.
Skye helps calm kids who are feeling distressed, reward those on good behavior and even offers a friendly ear to children with difficulties reading out loud.
Teacher’s aide Rochelle Magee sees Skye work with her class and her 6-year-old son Dylan.
“He has anxiety so it helps him to just be around the dog, to calm down and take a break from all the stimulation going on around him,” says Magee.
But Skye has another side.
The breeder, who donated him to Dooley for therapy work, saw even as a puppy, the sky was the limit for Skye.
“He was believed to be of show quality so they asked me if I would in exchange show Skye periodically just to see how he did in the ring,” says Dooley.
Thirty-two “best of” breeds later, Skye is ranked the 4th best Greater Swiss Mountain Dog in the U.S. and this week he competed in the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
Students watched a live stream Tuesday while Skye competed in New York.
He didn’t win but none-the-less returned to a hero’s welcome Wednesday afternoon.
“It really has been an opportunity to teach the students it’s not about winning or losing it’s about the journey, it’s about how you touch the lives of the people around you along the way,” says Dooley.
He says Skye is going to take a little break from being a show dog for the time being but will continue working in the school district full time.