Nedig students enjoy visit from special guest

Ellie Mae, a therapy dog, is a 5-year-old English Cream Golden Retriever.
Posted on 04/24/2023
Neidig students were excited to welcome Ellie Mae to their classroom.By Gary Weckselblatt

Neidig Elementary School students had a pleasant surprise Monday morning as Ellie Mae paid a visit to K-2 classrooms.

Ellie Mae is a 5-year-old English Cream Golden Retriever.

“I’ve never seen so many smiles at 9 o’clock on a Monday morning,” Assistant Principal Jaime Maddon said. “She’s so calming and sweet. It makes such a difference in the kids, for the better. The students are ready for the day now.”

Ellie Mae belongs to Bill Spiegel, who works with Therapy Dogs International. Ellie Mae, who has a regular schedule with students at The Academy and the ASPIRE program, plans to visit Neidig twice a month.

Mr. Spiegel described Ellie Mae as “low energy. The kids just melt. Everybody gets a smile.”

Studies have shown the benefits from working or visiting with a therapy dog may include reduced stress, improved physical and emotional well-being, lower blood pressure, decreased anxiety, improved self-esteem, and normalization of the environment, increasing the likelihood of successful academic achievement by the student. The use of therapy dogs with children is successful due to children’s natural tendency to open up to animals.

Therapy dogs are becoming a regular thing in the district. Pfaff and Quakertown elementary schools have employees with trained therapy dogs.

QE counselor Eileen Bruchak has introduced Ozzie, a Bernedoodle, to students, as has Pfaff teacher Lynne Benninghoff, who’s brought Sammi, an English Setter, to school. Both QCSD therapy dogs are certified by organizations recognized by the American Kennel Club.

“I’ve already seen a difference in one-on-one settings with students in crisis,” Mrs. Bruchak said. “It’s been very positive.”

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or [email protected].
Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2024 SchoolMessenger Corporation. All rights reserved.