Meet Abby: ORR’s new top dog

Mar 16, 2021

Old Rochester Regional High School is getting a new top dog in Abby, an emotional support goldendoodle who will help with the mental health of students and staff, alike.

Michelle Wright, the school social worker who will be partnered with Abby, said “there’s a lot of social and emotional benefits” in having an emotional support animal at the school.

She said Abby will be able to help students deal with depression and anxiety — especially during a time of added stress due to the pandemic.

“With all of that it can help reduce their physiological response to anxiety,” Wright said.

Abby’s first day on the job will be March 22, a professional development day at ORR.

Wright said it’s important that Abby is slowly acclimated to her new role, as it’s a new experience for her, too.

“Of course, it’s a whole new job for Abby,” Wright said.

The school sent an email to families on March 15 letting them know that Abby would be coming to the school. Wright said that the school wanted to give families a little bit of time to prepare for Abby’s arrival, and allow them to opt out of having their children interact with Abby.

Abby will be visiting the campus regularly for the rest of the school year, and has been training for her job for months, according to the school’s email.

“I’m hoping she’ll be able to really enjoy her time here and be helpful to the community,” Wright said.