Dougie - Our Therapy Dog
Dougie was born on the 1st June 2020. He is an F1 Cavapoo who is in training to become a school dog. Since joining us in September, Dougie has become an integral part of our school community. He has already started dog training classes and Therapy Dog Training.
What are the benefits of having a dog in school?
Multiple research studies have shown the benefits of therapy dogs in schools. Evidence indicates that benefits include:
Emotional – a school dog improves self-esteem, acceptance from others and lifts mood, often provoking laughter and fun. Dogs can also teach compassion and respect for other living things as well as relieving anxiety.
Social – a dog provides a positive mutual topic for discussion, encourages responsibility, wellbeing and focused interaction with others
Physical – interaction with a furry friend reduces blood pressure, provides tactile stimulation, assists with pain management, and gives motivation to exercise.
Environmental – a dog in a school increases the sense of a family environment, with all of the above benefits continuing long after the school day is over.
Reading – reading to dogs has been proven to help children develop literacy skills and build confidence, through both the calming effect the dog’s presence has on children as well as the fact that a dog will listen to children read without being judgemental or critical.
Questions you may have
My child is allergic to dogs
It is understandable that some of you may be concerned about possible allergic reactions to a school dog. However, Dougie will be subjected to thorough cleanliness and grooming regime. Fleeing and grooming records are kept in his file. Parental permission will be sought in advance of Dougie having access to, and working with, your child in school.
Will Dougie be properly cared for?
Dougie will be extremely well looked after. He will live with Eddie and his family and will come to school most days but will stay safely in Fiona’s office until satisfactory training has been completed. He will then, in time, spend time with the children in a controlled setting and will always be accompanied by a trained adult. He will undergo thorough and rigorous training so he will be extremely well-behaved. Dougie was assessed by a Therapy Dog trainer in October 2020. Whilst Dougie is in school he will have access to a dog crate in Fiona’s office where he can relax during the day. This is where he will spend most of his time initially. Dougie will visit the vet regularly for all his injections as well as regular check-ups. If Dougie is unwell for any reason he will stay at home.
My child is scared of dogs
Some children may have had upsetting experiences and thus have a fear of dogs or other animals. Dougie will only be in contact with children whose parents have given their permission. However, Dougie’s training will help him to be calm and gentle around children; he is already showing signs of a very loving and gentle nature. Dougie has recently been helping to welcome the children in from their transport in the mornings, many stopping to give him a quick scratch or pet. Experience and research have shown that, with proper guidance and handling, children can learn to overcome their fear of animals and grow in respect and appreciation for them.
The school has a ‘no dogs’ policy
Our school does have a ‘no dogs’ policy, however, because Dougie is training to be a therapy dog, specific rules will apply to him and him alone (please see our school dog policy). He will be on a lead at all times when moving around the school property and will always be accompanied by a trained adult. Dougie will also be fully insured to carry out his role thus allowing him to be on the school site.
We hope you will join us in welcoming Dougie to the Kingsbury School family and embrace all that he has to offer the school. More information about this can be found in the school dog policy.