Daisy – Our school therapy dog
Hello, my name is Daisy and I work at Park Community Academy. I was born in Blackpool on 31st December 2020 and have 6 brothers and sisters. I am a Cockerpoo which means my mum is a Cocker Spaniel and my Dad is a Poodle.
When I am not at work I live with Miss Gardiner. We love to go on long walks and also play in my back garden.
I have completed my Bronze, Silver and Gold school therapy dog training and my trainer, Natasha, still visits me regularly at school to make sure my training is fully up to date.
I love working at Park Community Academy and helping all the pupils and staff to grow, learn and achieve.
What are the benefits of having a school dog?
Research has shown that therapy dogs in school settings can facilitate well-being and learning outcomes and can bring joy as well as therapeutic benefits to the whole school community including:
- Social benefits. A therapy dog promotes greater self-esteem and can provide a positive mutual topic for discussion and encourages responsibility, wellbeing and a focused interaction with others.
- Cognitive benefits. It has been empirically proven that therapy dogs stimulate memory and problem-solving skills.
- Emotional and mental health benefits. A school dog can help improve self-esteem and lift moods. Dogs can also teach compassion and invoke a sense of respect for living things as well as relieving anxiety.
- Physical. Interacting with a dog in school provides tactile stimulation, gives motivation to walk and move and stimulates the senses, it can even help reduce blood pressure and assist with pain management.
- Environment. A dog in school can promote a sense of family environment and students can take great enjoyment from interaction with a dog with all the above benefits continuing long after the school day is over.
Pupils reading to dogs can help to improve reading ability, develop literacy skills and boost confidence through the calming, non-judgemental effect the dog’s presence can have. Pupil’s motivation and enjoyment of reading aloud can also improve even when the dog is not present.
How do we know Daisy is ready to work in school?
Daisy has undergone rigorous training before she could become a therapy dog for our school. Daisy has been assessed by a qualified trainer and her certificate is proudly displayed in school and on our website. Daisy will have her own timetable and will take rest breaks throughout the day. While being escorted around the school Daisy will remain on a lead at all times. A risk assessment and policy will be in place for Daisy which will be reviewed regularly.
My child is scared of dogs or has allergies
Some children may have a fear of dogs or indeed other animals. Daisy will only have contact with any of our students if parents/carers have given written permission for them to do so. Research shows that through proper care and guidance, children can learn to overcome their fear and as a parent/carer you can change your permissions at any time. Information regarding allergies can be provided on the consent form. Students will be encouraged to wash their hands after working with Daisy.
The School has a ‘No Dog Policy’ – except for Guide/Assistant Dogs
Schools must adhere to the Health and Safety at Work Act and as such have to assess the risks to our pupils and staff and apply the controls to mitigate those risks. Unfortunately, the school is unable to assess the risk of animals brought onto the site (other than those pre-arranged for educational purposes) and therefore unable to perform its duty of care to provide a safe environment. Therefore, dogs and or other animals are not permitted on the premises at any time. The presence of our therapy dog on site has been risk assessed and will be monitored closely in order to keep everyone safe.
Therapy dog policy