Man’s Best Friend: Berkley


Gabe Greco

Berkley Donahue, Washington’s therapy dog.

Araya Dunne, Co A&E Editor

Seen around the halls of Washington High School, Berkley Donahue has stolen the hearts of every student and staff that she’s met thus far. Berkley’s owner, Molly Donahue has been bringing Berkley to work with her, here at Wash, for about two and a half years with no questions asked and she doesn’t plan on going back to working without her anytime soon.

Berkley is a three-year-old therapy Golden Retriever students can find in room 116, loyally at the side of Molly Donahue. Molly teaches students with behavioral disabilities and has found that Berkley has always been an excellent solution who keeps students’ anxiety at bay

After training and taking classes, Berkley passed a test that officially certifies her as a therapy dog. (Please note the difference between a therapy dog and service dog. There are two dogs that are a part of Washington’s staff: Berkley AND a service dog named Turbo. Turbo is not to be touched or messed with by any student or staff. He is trained to detect medical problems of a student, but Berkley is for everyone.)

Molly got the idea of bringing Berkley to work from counselors at Franklin Middle School. Those counselors used to bring their dogs and had extreme success among teachers and staff, so Molly followed their lead. Molly’s job was previously located in Harding Middle School and she recalls what life at work was like without Berkley, “It’s simple. Animals help people. My kids who I taught at Harding stopped throwing things in the classroom not because they wanted to be respectful to me, but at the very least, they wanted to make sure that Berkley was safe.” Molly later goes on to explain that even though some students struggle with acting out, Berkley’s presence helps them calm down and eases their tension. Not only does Berkley love attention, but she loves people and she loves her job!

Instead of Berkley staying home alone, she comes everyday to work (“riding in the passenger seat like any other human”, Molly adds) and can be recognized by her picture in the main staff display case or staff ID if you aren’t sure why a dog is walking leashless in the halls. If you want to stop by and say hello, she would love more visitors, but before you do, be sure to read the PSA posted outside of 116. If you ever need a friend or maybe even a mid-day PDA-free snuggle buddy, Berkley’s got your back