How One Dog Has Aided Dozens In Early Childhood Development


BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - About a year ago, educators at Mary Kay McMillin Early Childhood Center in Berkeley Heights pursued a grant to welcome a young Australian Labradoodle into their classrooms. At the forefront of this program was Ms. Anne Corley-Hand, the principal of MKM.

“After attending a workshop on the Benefits of Therapy Dogs in Schools, I made the decision to adopt a second dog. I reached out to Stefani Whiteman at Ocean State Labradoodles to begin the adoption process. We welcomed Timber into our home on July 4 and he began his 'work' at the Early Childhood Center in early July,” said Corley-Hand.

As the principal of MKM and the owner of Timber, the young Labradoodle, Ms. Corley-Hand became the face of the movement to train Timber and introduce him to the students. She began by composing a grant proposal, seeking money from the Berkeley Heights Education Foundation to help train Timber as a therapy dog.

Sign Up for E-News

Kathy Kayne, a speech therapist, said, “We have found Timber’s presence to elicit language and promote play skills with the district’s youngest students."

Corley-Hand feels incredibly fortunate that Superintendent, Judy Rattner and the Board of Education are supportive of innovative programs and she looks forward to the continued escapades of Timber the Dog.

Thanks to Lisa Plocinski, of On The Ball Dog Training, who works directly with Timber, he is working to complete training and begin his work as a therapy dog at Mary Kay McMillin.

With only one year under Timber’s belt as a therapy dog in training, it is abundantly clear that not only was this a beneficial allocation of funding, but the improvements in student behavior suggest that this method should be introduced in schools nationwide. Ms. Corley-Hand has received countless testimonials from parents and students alike, thanking Timber for the comforting atmosphere he has provided for students with anxiety, autism, and learning disorders.

Allison Harris, whose daughter Ava suffers from anxiety, wrote, “ I honestly do not know how this year would have gone if not for Timber. As a full-time working mom, to know that Timber was there to help soothe her anxiety and fears, calmed my nerves and made me feel safe. If it was not for Timber, my daughter would not have been able to concentrate in class, have the confidence to experience new things and meet new people.”

Each morning, students crowd around Ms. Corley-Hand and Timber in the lobby. Even Mario Hernandez, a student coping with Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder joins in every morning. Typically Mario struggles with social situations, especially in large, crowded rooms and noisy environments.

However, Lisa Hernandez, Mario’s mother noted otherwise after her son’s experience with Timber.

She said, “Seeing Timber instantly pulls Mario out of the internal world in which he spends so much of his time. The crowd of children that converges on Ms. Corley and Timber in the mornings never bothers Mario. He is perfectly content to sit right in the middle of a noisy, bustling group of kids that he would never tolerate under any other circumstance.”

With so many success stories, Timber has shed a light on how therapy dogs can help young kids transition through school, cope with social challenges, anxiety, and so much more.


TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Berkeley Heights’ Women of the Week (WoW) Series features Beth Ferris Sale

March 18, 2018

In honor of the women who are driving change, blazing trails and nurturing society, the Berkeley Heights Diversity Council is pleased to announce an exciting initiative called, Women of the Week (WoW) Series. In the spirit of community, we wanted to honor the women right here in Berkeley Heights who are impacting the world in their own way for the remaining weeks of Women’s History ...

2018 Gov. Livingston Highlander Softball Clinic Set for March 19

March 19, 2018

Come join and learn from the 2017 Union County Softball Champion Gov. Livingston coaches and varsity players on Monday, March 19, 2018 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Activities will include the following fastpitch softball skills:

Batting Techniques
Throwing Mechanics
Base Running

Who: Children grades 1-7 of any skill level or ability

Where: Gov. Livingston High School, 175 ...

Mount Carmel Breakfast with the Easter Bunny, Sunday, March 25

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Mount Carmel Society is hosting a Breakfast with the Easter Bunny on Sunday, March 25 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 56 River Road in Berkeley Heights with an Easter Egg Hunt at 11 a.m. (weather permitting).

The all you can eat buffet includes pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, bagels, donuts and muffins and a cash bar will serve Mimosas and Bloody ...

Register for Breakfast with the Easter Bunny at Mt. Carmel Hall in Berkeley Heights

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Come out and enjoy Breakfast Buffet with the Easter Bunny on Sunday, March 25 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Mt. Carmel Hall at 56 River Road in Berkeley Heights.

Children can have their picture taken with the Easter Bunny and receive a special gift from the Easter Bunny.

The buffet includes all you can eat pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, donuts, muffins, coffee, ...

OLP Presents 'Screenagers' a Documentary on Growning Up in the Digital Age

Our Lady of Peace Church and Academy in New Providence will be hosting a special screening of the movie "Screenagers" regarding a very important topic for families and youth – “Growing up in the Digital Age.” The movie delves into the important and current topic of children and teenagers and their use of social media and digital devices. The movie is appropriate for ...

NPHS Student's Response to After School Walk-out Plan at NPHS

March 14, 2018

A group of students file into a science classroom amid a nervous din of chatter, the air is electric with excitement and nervousness. This small group of approximately 30 students are a studious bunch, largely members of the sophomore class with squeaky clean administrative histories. They are currently preparing to defy authority and stand up for what they believe in, even though they had been ...

New Providence's Allen W. Roberts School Gets Security Walk Through by Police Department after Bomb Threat

March 12, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The New Providence Police Department sent a letter to parents and guardians of students at Allen W. Roberts Elementary School after a non-specific bomb threat was reported on Monday afternoon.

It's the second threat  reported at a New Providence school in March. The first threat was reported on March 5th at New Providence High School.

Emergency ...

Avon Loses Its Last ‘Grand’ Hotel to the Claw of an Excavator

March 17, 2018

AVON-BY-THE-SEA, NJ — In less than two days, an Avon-by-the-Sea landmark that stood for 130 years was reduced to a huge pile of rubble. The Norwood Inn no longer stands on the corner of Norwood and Second Avenues — the last of the stately hotels that once graced the streets of Avon.

As onlookers gathered around the demolition site on March 15 and March 16, an excavator clawed its ...

Upcoming Events

Mon, March 19, 7:00 PM

Cranford Community Center, Cranford

Agents of Change: Women in NJ History



Mon, March 19, 7:30 PM

Columbia Middle School Multi-purpose Room, Berkeley Heights

Berkeley Heights Board of Education: Monday's ...


Tue, March 20, 7:30 PM

Mountain Park School, Berkeley Heights

Boy Scout Open House - Troop 368

Education Giving Back

Wed, March 21, 7:00 PM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

increase your networking and interviewing iq

Business & Finance Other

Thu, March 22, 7:00 PM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

The Long march home: An American Soldier's Life ...

Education Other

JCP&L Representative Describes Utility’s Actions During Storm Quinn, Answers Residents' Questions

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – The format of this week’s  Berkeley Heights 'Here and Now' was turned on its head this week. Mayor Bob Woodruff reviewed what happened in the township following Storm Quinn and its predecessor Storm Riley, complete with statistics. He then asked a representative of JCP&L questions about the utility’s response, and how it was ...

Berkeley Heights, Here and Now: Redevelopment Updates

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Mayor's Round Table has been rebranded to "Berkeley Heights, Here and Now." This new format will continue to provide updates from Mayor Bob Woodruff, municipal offices and the Communications Committee want to hear from citizens, businesses and community organizations.

Included in this episode, Mayor Bob Woodruff addresses the status of the ...

You Want a Check for How Much!

 My first admissions gig was working for a small liberal arts college with a pretty hefty price tag.  Picture me at a college fair: name tag in place, pile of brochures ready to go.  An eager family would walk up and we’d start a conversation.  One of the first questions I’d get from parents was about cost and the moment that $50,000-plus figure left my mouth I ...

Now That The Dust Has Settled…Smart Tax Moves In 2018

Now that the dust has settled, here are some smart tax moves to lower your taxes and/or avoid higher taxes/penalties in 2018. These steps may be especially helpful if you live in high property and high income tax states (e.g. New Jersey, New York, California) since state and local tax deductions are capped.  Unfortunately all these changes mean you’ll need more time and energy to ...