My name is Shadow and I am a very important member of the staff team at St Peter’s where I work as the school dog.
My role as school dog is challenging and varied but I feel that I am more than up to the task. Numerous research studies have shown the benefits of dogs in schools. Therapy dogs have been working in schools across the UK for the past 5 years. However, they have been commonplace in schools in the USA and Australia for many years now. Evidence indicates that areas of potential benefits include:
• Cognitive development – companionship with a dog stimulates memory, problem-solving, game-playing and can improve reading skills.
• Emotional development – 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 development – interaction with a pet reduces blood pressure, provides tactile stimulation, assists with pain management, gives motivation to move, walk and stimulates the senses.
• Environmental benefits – a dog in a school contributes towards the creation of home style environment, with all of the above benefits continuing long after the school day is over.
• Social benefits – a dog provides a positive mutual topic for discussion, encourages responsibility, wellbeing, developing social skills and focused interaction with others.
But what does my role as school dog at St Peters Catholic Primary School, involve?
During school hours I have a challenging and ever-changing job. I am based in Miss Vedamuttu (Deputy headteacher) and Mrs Towsey’s (SENCo) office where children, staff and parents are welcome to visit me to share their successes or just to have a chat with me; I am very good at listening and as everybody knows, dogs can hear a lot better than humans. I often join classes for their story times and to look at the work they have done. Sometimes, I may join a class for a lesson or two if it will enrich the experience in some way.
During the summer term, Miss Vedamuttu will help me to run an invitation only Dog Training Club.
I am a cockapoo, a cross between a cocker spaniel and a poodle. This means that I do not shed fur, making it highly unlikely that anyone will be allergic to me.
I plan on keeping my section of the website up-to-date with comments and photographs documenting my time in school. You can also find me on Facebook, @shadowtheschooldog; please like and follow my page for a different insight on school life.
If you have any further questions regarding my role within the school please request to see me in person or contact the school office on 01795 423479 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org