Therapy Dogs

Topeka Public Schools employs over a dozen therapy dogs at elementary, middle, and high schools across the district. Therapy dogs play an important role as part of the mental health team by providing emotional support, reducing stress and anxiety, and providing a sense of calm for students and staff members alike.

Meet Our Therapy Dogs

Josie: French Middle School

Josie was 3.5 years old when she started her therapy dog career at French Middle School in 2023. Josie and media specialist, Kelly Kelley, are a certified Therapy Dog Team through the Alliance of Therapy Dogs.

Josie is a Bernese Mountain Dog (or Berner) who loves people! She has a special couch in the library where she sits and humans are invited to read to her or just enjoy her company. Her favorite time of day is when she first arrives at school, and she gets to see her kids again. She doesn’t really play with toys much, she prefers to surprise people–like when she appears between a person’s legs and looks up as if to say, “Peek-a-boo!” Josie is a sweet girl whose therapy style is smiles, soft floof, and making people feel special with her greetings.

Josie - French Middle

Minnie: Capital City High School

Minnie is 8-years-old and has worked alongside Jimmy Collins at Capital City High School since 2017. She loves working with kids and playing at home with other dogs.

Minnie recently reached the time to retire but will continue to come visit students and staff at Capital City. She is a great therapy dog and has become a vital part of the school as her calming nature serves the population very well.

Minnie enjoys being read to and also enjoys just being around when students are doing work. Minnie has her fair share of visits from both staff and students throughout her day. She looks forward to her treats at the end of each day! 


Fiesta: Capital City High School

Fiesta was born on Kansas Day as the runt of the litter, but this little pup has made a big impact on the students and staff at Capital City High School! You can find her in Joan Valburg's classroom loving on students as they give speeches, read, and work on their English.

Fiesta's hobbies include chomping on ice and playing ball. She has worked as a professional therapy dog for Topeka Public Schools since 2020 and serves her population very well. Her energy is contagious and she is always dressed to impress with her daily bandana's!


Adidas: Jardine Elementary 

Adidas is a 5-year-old female Black Labrador. She has worked alongside School Social Worker Tauna Cornell at Jardine Elementary School since 2018, and received her facility dog training at KSDS in Washington, KS. 

At school, Adidas loves walking scholars to class and greeting everyone at the front doors in the morning. She loves when scholars stop to pet her and enjoys being read to. Adidas has been very helpful calming sad scholars, helping transition nervous friends, and interrupting behaviors. Adidas loves coming to school. 

When not at work, Adidas loves playing fetch, going for walks, swimming, sunbathing on the deck and taking naps. Her favorite toys are balls and squeaky toys.


Potus: Landon Middle School

Potus is a Goldendoodle who was born on December 24, 2020. He is excited to work alongside Jennifer Johnson, a Special Education Consulting Teacher, at Landon Middle School beginning during the 2022-2023 school year. Potus and Ms. Johnson went through extensive training together and he is going to love his job as a therapy dog!


Splash: McClure Elementary 

Splash is a 6-year-old Standard Poodle who works alongside Karah Hight, a School Counselor at McClure Elementary School. Splash first began working as a therapy dog in 2017, and joined Topeka Public Schools in 2021. At home, her favorite things to do are go on walks and play with squeaky toys.


Esme: Meadows Elementary 

Esme is a 2-year-old Golden Retriever who serves as the Library Dog at Meadows Elementary School, where she works alongside Library Media Specialist, Karin Thompson. She started working as the Library Dog in October 2021.

Main Jobs: Reading buddy, secret keeper, furry friend to pet, snack eater, furry shoulder to cry on, and expert on books about dogs.

Esme loves whipped cream, chasing rabbits, gentle hands, and receiving a snack from anyone who offers.


Montana: State Street Signature Performing Arts Elementary School

Montana is a 2-year-old Yellow Labrador who works at State Street Elementary alongside Hayley Van Amburg, a School Counselor. The two became a team in March 2022. 

Montana loves to play fetch and be active-she is so fast and the kids always try to race her! She also really loves any sign of affection, especially having her back scratched or her tummy rubbed. 

She attends lessons and duties with Ms. Van Amburg; she also assists with small groups and individual talk times. Montana is an incentive that students can buy in the PBIS Starbucks Store. Students on behavior charts can earn time with Montana if they have met their goals for the day. 


Jersey: Whitson Elementary

Jersey is a mini Goldendoodle who was born on May 1, 2020 and works alongside Mona Ridley, a School Counselor at Whitson Elementary. Jersey and Ms. Ridley were specially trained to work as a team! Jersey's favorite toys are stuffed animals, especially ones that squeak, and she likes to chase after balls. She also loves to play with children and seems to know when they need some extra loving care. Everyone agrees, Jersey is a great addition to Whitson Elementary!


Little Bit: Williams Science & Fine Arts Magnet School

Little Bit started as a therapy dog in April 2022 at Williams Science & Fine Arts Magnet School, where she works alongside Christina Bays, a Special Education Social Worker. Little Bit is a rescue dog who loves chin scratches and head rubs. Her teeth sometimes stick out and look kind of silly, but that is how you know she is smiling! She loves bacon treats, doing zoomies in the backyard, and taking long naps with her brother, Shorty.

Fun Fact: Little Bit had a DNA test to find out her dog breed and she is: Australian Cattle Dog, American Pit Bull Terrier, Chow Chow, Miniature Schnauzer, Labrador, German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Collie, and Keeshond.

Little Bit

Sophie: Williams Science & Fine Arts Magnet School

Sophie began working at Williams Science & Fine Arts Magnet School in August 2022, where she works alongside Samantha Mesa, a Speech-Language Pathologist. Sophie assists Ms. Mesa during therapy sessions, and also loves visiting with students and staff at Williams. Sophie loves walks, learning new tricks, and going to agility class. Sophie trains throughout the year to compete in agility competitions when she's not napping at home or working.


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