Our School Dog
We would like to introduce you to our school dog, Wispa. Wispa is still a puppy and this year he is undergoing his training as he learns the skills to become our school dog. Wispa is soft and gentle and he loves to be around children and adults. He is a very clever ladradoodle, and although he lives with Miss Hennessy and her family in their home, Wispa is learning that St Mary's is a special place for him too.
We are very excited about Wispa joining our school family this year and we know that he will teach us a great deal about care and responsibility. It is also great fun getting to know him. Look out for Wispa when you're visiting our school - he'll love to say hello.
Research has shown that having a dog in school can provide a number of benefits for children. Therapy dogs have been working in schools for a number of years across the UK. However, they have been commonplace in schools in the USA and Australia for many years
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. (nih.gov)
• 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 helps children develop their reading skills, encourages positive behaviour and helps build confidence and self esteem, 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 Reading to dogs inspires children to have fun and enjoy the experience of reading. (Bark and Read | Charity work | The Kennel Club)
• SEN - “Therapy Dogs Nationwide dogs have also shown to help with special needs and autistic children and adults by giving focus and providing a calming environment.” Therapy Dogs Nationwide (Schools - THERAPY DOGS NATIONWIDE (tdn.org.uk)