Safeguarding Teddy our Wellbeing Dog
What we are going to offer
Mrs. West (Student Support Officer in TEAM Hub) has a registered Therapy dog called Teddy who is a Golden Retriever.
Obviously, bringing any animal into school is not something to be approached lightly, both for the animal’s sake and for the sake of the students and adults in the school. I have visited and taken advice from other schools in the area, who have school dogs. We have discussed the practicalities, including everything from risk assessments and insurance to dealing with training, doggy toileting and student’s allergies.
Teddy will be based in TEAM Hub with Mrs West as she is the person that the dog is registered with through Pets as therapy.
Students will never be left alone with Teddy and they will be taught about how to be around a dog; for example, if Teddy is on his bed, then we leave him alone to rest. We are hoping that Teddy will eventually join our school on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but this will be built up over time.
What is Teddy like?
Teddy is a Golden Retriever. The breed is renowned for their calm, gentle temperament and love of children. Belonging to Mrs. West and her family, Teddy has undergone strict training and assessment in order to prepare him for working with children. Teddy is certified as a ‘Pets As Therapy’ dog, meaning that he has been assessed as being healthy and of the right temperament to work within the local community, including children. Pets as Therapy dogs are recognised by the Royal College of Nursing and welcomed by medical authorities in many areas.
Mrs. West takes Teddy to the ‘Campbell Centre’ in Milton Keynes on a regular basis to help patients with their Mental Health.
What will Teddy do all day in school?
Teddy’s role in school will be varied. He might ‘chill out’ in TEAM Hub whilst students are attending their lessons. For those students who access TEAM Hub, arrangements can be made to spend time with Teddy.
Research studies in both Britain and America have concluded that having a dog in a school environment can have many positive benefits – these include helping to calm children down, improve academic achievement, motivate those children who are often not that attentive, teach responsibility and encourage children to respect all life. Also, it has been shown that when children share the affection and care of a ‘school’ dog, a bond forms among them and strengthens their team ethics.
Teddy can also be used to hear students read. Dogs give unconditional acceptance, as they are non-judgmental, which is especially crucial to students who struggle to read. He will provide confidence to students as he will not make fun of them when they read, but above all he will make an amazing listener, providing the students with a sense of comfort and love.
Could we ask that parents/carers make the school aware if their child has an allegy or phobia which may prevent them from accessing TEAM Hub. If this is the case, an alternative space can be provided.