Our School Therapy Dog
We would like to introduce Zola, our school therapy dog.
Zola was born on Thursday 4th April 2017. She is a toy Cavachon. Cavachon’s have a gentle and loving nature and are excellent with children.
Zola is a qualified Pet Therapy Dog and is an integral part of our school. Zola will often be on the school gate in the mornings.
Below we have set out the benefits of a school dog, and tried to address any concerns you may have.
What are the benefits of having a school dog?
Numerous research studies have shown the benefits of therapy dogs in schools. Therapy dogs have been working in schools for the past 5 years across the UK.
Evidence indicates that benefits include:-
- Cognitive – companionship with a dog stimulates memory, problem-solving and game-playing
- Social – a dog provides a positive mutual topic for discussion, encourages responsibility, wellbeing and focused interaction with others.
- 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.
- Physical – interaction with a furry friend reduces blood pressure, provides tactile stimulation, assists with pain management, gives motivation to move, walk and stimulates the senses
- 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. This comforting environment helps to nurture children’s enthusiasm for reading and provides them with the confidence to read aloud.
Some common questions related to Zola
What if my child is allergic to dogs?
It is understandable that you may be concerned about possible allergic reactions to a school dog. However, Zola is considered hypoallergenic as she has a coat which is well tolerated by people who regularly get allergies because she is a low-shedding dog.
Zola will be subjected to the most thorough cleanliness and grooming regime. She will also only be allowed in situations with pupils who voluntarily wish to work with her. If your child has any allergies to dogs please complete the allergy form below and return it to the school office.
Will Zola be properly cared for?
Zola will be extremely well looked after. She lives with Mrs Shorten and her family and will come to school most days, but will stay safely in the pastoral team offices when she is not listening to pupils read in a controlled setting. She will always be accompanied by an adult. She has undergone thorough and rigorous training, so is extremely well-behaved. Zola has been assessed by a Pets As Therapy Assessor and is now a qualified therapy dog. Whilst Zola is in school she will have access to a dog crate in the pastoral offices where she can relax. This is where she will spend most of her time initially, while she adjusts to school life. Zola will visit the vet regularly for all her injections as well as regular check-ups. If Zola is unwell for any reason she will stay at home!
What if my child is scared of dogs?
Some children may have had upsetting experiences and thus have a fear of dogs (or other animals). Zola’s training will help her to be calm and gentle around children; she has a very loving and gentle nature. Experience and research have shown that, with proper guidance and handling, children can learn to overcome their fear of dogs and grow to respect and appreciate for them. If your child has a fear of dogs please complete the form below and return it to the school office.
The school has a ‘no dogs’ policy
Our school does have a ‘no dogs’ policy, however because Zola is training to be a Pets As Therapy dog, specific rules will apply to her and her alone. She will be on a lead at all times when moving around the school property and will always be accompanied by an adult. Zola will also be fully insured to carry out her role thus allowing her to be on the school site.
If you have any concerns regarding this then please email firstname.lastname@example.org
with the heading “School Dog”.