About us

Our aim at Rainbow Skyes Dog Therapy is to support all children and young people, particularly those with additional needs of any kind. We have a strong focus on mental health and wellbeing, as well as supporting those with specific Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

We offer a wide range of workshops, focussing on specific themes, that are highly inclusive and accessible to all. We adapt to all age ranges and abilities. We also create bespoke packages of support. 

We support schools and other organisations, attending youth groups, playgroups, support groups, SEND groups, clubs, events, fairs, fun days, open days and more.

Every workshop we offer supports mental health and wellbeing, whilst focussing on particular themes and specific needs. Our workshops are all developed to provide:

  • SEND and Additional Needs Provision
  • Reading Sessions & Dyslexia Support
  • Sensory Regulation & Relaxation

and to:

  • Promote Wellbeing & Mental Health
  • Develop Respect & Empathy
  • Boost Confidence & Self Worth

Our sessions are led by Mel, an accomplished teacher and SENCo, with a passion for inclusion and equity.

  • 19 years teaching ages 4-11 in Sunderland Primary Schools
  • 17 years as a SENCo
  • 15 years as a Parent Carer
  • 5 years as a Deputy Head and Deputy Safeguarding Lead
  • 4 years as a 1:1 SEND Tutor
  • 3 years volunteering with Sunderland Parent Carer Forum
  • 3 years supporting Sunderland Youth Voice groups

We can also support adults, for example, parent carers, adults with disabilities, those with health needs and care home residents.  

Settings can provide individual or group sessions to meet a range of additional needs. Mel has vast experience with all aspects of SEND, including physical disabilities, autism, dyslexia and SEMH.

Achieve SEND outcomes through dog therapy!

Provide a calming focus for young people with autism and sensory needs, or just as a way to relax. Therapy dogs are a 'social lubricant', supporting communication and interaction.

They promote a feeling of calm - the more Skye is stroked, cuddled and talked to, the more she chills out, which in turn has a soothing effect.

Young people can find it difficult to be their best selves for all sorts of reasons. Additional needs or circumstances all affect how a young person feels and behaves. The reward of unconditional affection provides the motivation to treat a therapy dog with respect and kindness. Young people with autism can often form a bond with a therapy dog more easily than with a peer or adult.

Reading to a dog is an effective way of building confidence in a non-threatening way. Skye will listen and never be judgemental or point out mistakes. Reading becomes fun and even a treat! Sessions can be tailor-made to suit needs. Mel has 20-plus years of teaching reading, including to those with significant barriers.

Interacting with therapy dogs can lower blood pressure and release endorphins. Young people really look forward to their sessions with Skye, and clearly benefit from the time they spend with her. In a group, she loves to mingle and say hello when someone enters the room. She is a positive focus no matter what is going on around her.

In the challenging world we live in, it can be difficult to develop an identity and feel worthwhile. Reciprocated relationships, including from animals, invoke feelings of acceptance and value. Therapy dogs also provide a positive distraction from behaviours young people may display as a result distrust, anxiety or negative feelings about themselves.

Nice to Meet You

Rainbow Skyes was founded in 2023 with a team of two, Mel and Skye.

Skye is a loving family dog. She has a special bond with Sam, Mel’s son, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair.

The emotional comfort Skye offers is like nothing else. She connects in a way only a dog knows how - unconditionally, without prejudice or judgement.

Having left a long career as a teacher to be a full-time parent carer, Mel decided that Skye could be the perfect therapy for many more children and young people, and so ‘Rainbow Skyes’ was born.


“Skye was born to be loved and to give love. She is able to lift your mood just by looking into her gorgeous amber eyes! Everywhere she goes, people want to stroke and cuddle her and she is only too happy about that! She has so much to give, we just have to share it out!"


“I like sardines, fluffy blankets and chasing my ball. I especially love relaxing. Lots of relaxing! I am trained to walk alongside a wheelchair - it's one of my many talents! I like humans better than dogs - they give better cuddles!"


“Skye is a huge part of my life. She is very loving and affectionate. She loves being with people and seems to understand how they feel. She keeps me company at night as I get anxious. I have cerebral palsy so I feel vulnerbale on my own. When Skye is there I sleep much better. She is so soft and warm to snuggle up with!"