Skip to main

The Marvelous Miss Mabel

Archway Glendale June 5, 2024 -


Mabel is a great hearted bernedoodle and one of the new faculty members at Archway Glendale. Her owner and handler is Joy Hanks, the Dean of Students at the academy. Mabel has been trained and certified as a therapy dog and spends a few days a week at the school to provide a myriad of services to the students and staff. Mabel’s name is Latin in origin (of course) and means “lovable.” When you meet Mabel in person, you will understand the accuracy of that name.

Bernedoodles are a cross between a Bernese Mountain dog and a poodle. The hypoallergenic breed is known for their companionship, and they love to be hugged and cuddled. Mabel has a calm demeanor and seems unphased by crowds and loud noises, even when surrounded by scholars at the school. Hanks has taken her through extensive therapy training last year and is excited to put her training to work this school year.

Archway Glendale Therapy Dog

Mabel greets students as they arrive to school, and she already has a large fan base. Besides being available to classrooms, upon request, to provide a calming factor for students who may need emotional support or regulation, Mabel also aides as a support with our ESS students. “She brings love and joy to students who are sad and lonely,” is what one student said to describe Mabel’s important role in the school.

Archway Glendale Therapy Dog

“She’s a little celebrity that walks down the hallway. The students love her,” said Headmaster Suzanne DeStefano “What I didn’t expect is how much school spirit she would bring and how much love she would bring. She’s also been a really good resource for students when they are experiencing anxiety or stress and need strategies to help them calm down… What I didn’t expect also was how much the teachers would love Mable. I go to Mable sometimes and just to pet her and chill out a little bit after a difficult meeting.”

Archway Glendale Therapy Dog with group of students

Young readers can practice their reading skills by reading out loud to Mabel. Our teachers know that reading out loud can improve overall reading performance for young readers. Having Mabel in the classroom will encourages children to read aloud with ease, because they feel less anxious due to the presence of an accepting and non-judgmental listener.

Joy Hanks with Mabel

Mabel has a unique sense to seek out those students that need a little extra attention that goes way beyond her training. Hanks recalled when one of the 5th grade teachers asked if Mabel could be present during testing one day because she felt like she had a lot of students who were feeling nervous about it. “So, we set it up and she laid on her mat and I explained to the students that she may get up and kind of wander around. If she does, you can pet her and take a little break,” she said. “So, about 10 minutes into the testing, Mabel got up and she started walking around the room and she stopped at anybody who wanted to pet her… She started to go back to her mat and then she turned around and she went to the second row to the child that was sitting all the way against the wall.” Hanks explained that the student was positioned in the room where Mabel had to be intentional to reach her. “She placed herself right under her desk…  [The student] was able to reach down and pet Mabel and Mabel put her head on [the student’s] foot and stayed there the entire duration.” Hanks noted that this particular student had the most test anxiety and nervousness in the room, and Mabel was able to identify the need. She said this is not the only instance that Mabel has been able to quickly identify emotional needs of individuals.

Archway Glendale Therapy Dog

In addition to becoming an instant celebrity at the school, she will soon be capturing the hearts throughout The Valley and beyond as she will be featured by Uplifting Arizona on ABC15, which will air tonight at 5:00 PM (MTN). Tune in and watch for more stories and updates to come from the “Marvelous Miss Mabel!”

Do you have a story or know of a story that you would like to see featured at Great Hearts?  Please contact