North Cross Welcomes Students (And Dogs) Back To School

Dr. Christian Proctor with his labs Raider and Huck.

North Cross School, an independent pre-k through grade 12 school in Roanoke, has been a dog friendly campus since the installation of its current Head of School, Dr. Christian Proctor (along with his black lab Ripken) back in 2011.

 This September, the school brought its four-legged friends to the frontlines with the launch of “Dogs of NCS” Instagram account (@dogsofncs). The profile invites all community members, from faculty to students, staff to alumni, to share the fur baby love with its growing number of followers.

Raider and Huck, both labs, one black, one white, have found their home in the Head’s office since Ripken’s passing in 2015, and the two accompany Dr. Proctor to school and work carpool duty every day. Other faculty and staff members have followed suit by bringing their dogs to work. In fact, of the six buildings on campus, four of them have at least one canine resident.

“Having dogs on campus immediately puts most people at ease. They add to the family atmosphere we promote and students’ faces light up whenever they seem them around,” notes Proctor.

In fact, an article from Psychology Today reveals that “emerging research is showing an array of ways in which dogs can provide support and a sense of calm for our daily emotional and psychological stresses.” This effect is very apparent around exam time when Rosie, the Dachshund-Beagle mix whose “office” is in the Library, sees a marked increase in student visits to her doggy gate, according to her owner and Director of Marketing Jessica Schindhelm.

But what about the cat people or reptile lovers? Not to worry, the Instagram account, just like the school, is an inclusive enterprise and features “Caturdays” and “Side-kick Sundays,” so that no pet is left behind.