We hope you are as excited as us about the newest addition to our team.
We will bring you regular pupdates of her progress.
Wednesday 31st March 2021
Tuesday 16th March 2021
Dear Parents and Carers,
WELCOME TO SAFFY – OUR SCHOOL THERAPY DOG
You may be aware that there is a growing movement in many schools to reintroduce the concept of school pets as a way of teaching all children responsibility and providing a source of pleasure and learning.
Of particular interest, is the current move towards “Reading Dogs” and “Therapy Dogs”. The former is based on research that shows that many children who find reading practice difficult are more willing and able to read to the non-judgmental audience of an animal than they are to a human being! Therapy dogs are similarly being used as a source of comfort and relaxation for children and adults who may need “someone to talk to” or just someone who will accept them and offer comfort or a calming influence in their lives. There is much evidence that children who struggle with relationships or with managing their own emotions gain a great deal from spending time with a pet.
With these ideas in mind, the governors have agreed to the concept of having a dog in school. Over the past few months, we have been researching to find an appropriate breed of puppy with the right temperament, is hypoallergenic and doesn’t shed dander to support children who have allergies.
I have recently bought a Cockapoo puppy, her name is Saffy, which in time will be trained to become a Therapy dog, whilst also living with me at home. From this term, I will be bringing the dog into school and, eventually, once the dog is used to the environment, introducing it to the school community. Children will also attend assemblies and receive training from a dog trainer and the Blue Cross organisation about how to care and behave safely around dogs.
Understandably, bringing any animal into school is not something to be approached lightly, both for the animal’s sake and for the sake of the children and adults in the school. I have visited and taken advice from Headteachers, who have school dogs. We have discussed the practicalities, including everything from risk assessments and insurance to dealing with training, doggy toileting and children’s allergies.
Today, we have shared this exciting news with the children. It is our aim that all children across the school will have opportunities to have contact and quality time with our dog.
Whilst we are at a very early stage in this process of introduction, it would be helpful to know whether we have any children who are allergic to dogs’ hair or who have a particular phobia concerning dogs. I can assure you that our dog will not be around the school unsupervised and will only have access to restricted areas, but it is sensible to be aware of everyone’s needs. We are very mindful, that introducing a dog into the school setting should not be a distraction to the children’s learning and for this to enhance our school ethos and the experiences we offer our children. A risk assessment will be available on our website before the dog arrives in school, which will give you some indication of the amount of thought that has gone into this pilot programme.
I would be very grateful therefore if you could complete the attached permission slip (Please note that if you do not sign the permission form, your child will not be able to interact with Saffy). Hard copies are available at the school office, if required.
Mrs T Madden