Portrait!06 Mar 2015Woof! I’ve recently had my portrait painted…what do you think? I had to sit very still. My other big news is...
Rudi our School Dog
Following the success of having Guinea Pigs in school and on-going work with visiting dogs and guide dogs for the blind, we spent time exploring the possibility of a SCHOOL DOG. We recognised the enormous benefits that caring for animals bring to our children. Of course, we are aware of Health and Safety compliances, religious beliefs etc and advice was sought from the Leeds City Council Health & Safety Team, who were most encouraging about the venture.There is a considerable body of evidence that suggests that simply being with animals has a therapeutic effect and an increasing number of organisations, including schools, are using dogs to enhance wellbeing. Working with dogs provides pupils with many benefits including building confidence and self esteem. Dogs are used to provide consolation and comfort. Often “chilling out” in the company of a dog in a quiet place, has enormous benefits.
Why choose a dog as a school pet?
Why choose a dog as a school pet?
Pupils can not fail in anyway in their relationship with dogs: the dog doesn’t judge or condemn, and they offer unconditional affection. Pupils learn the principals of good pet ownership and are given a sense of responsibility through their contact with the dog, although staff will always be responsible for cleaning-up after the dog.
There are also many interesting reading programmes using dogs working with children, which have been shown to have positive gains in pupils’ reading performances.
Introducing Rudi !
Rudi's owner is Mrs Hopwood and she brings him to school at 8am, ready for the day's 'work'. At 3.15pm he returns home to his family.
Rudi came to us in June 2014 when he was 9 months old. He is a Spanoodle, which is a cross between a spaniel and poodle. We did lots of research to decide on the most appropriate breed for our school, and waited a long time until the right dog came along.
Rudi is affectionate, fun, fabulous with children and enjoys being calm. The fact that he is a poodle cross, means that he doesn't shed hair. A big bonus!
We are delighted and very excited about our new addition to the team and will keep you updated with his news (see the newsletter and Rudi's Blog).
Possible concerns you may have
As explained, all necessary risk assessments and procedures are in place to ensure that the children remain safe and Rudi is a respected, valued member of the team. We have engaged the services of an experienced dog trainer and Rudi and staff have on-going training (in the same way that I would provide training for any staff member). For the majority of his time here Rudi is kept away from the children in his School Home. Indeed you won’t tend to see Rudi “wandering around school” as we ensure that any access the children have to Rudi is in controlled conditions.
I appreciate that a very small number of parents may not wish their child to be involved in any way with the school dog, and we respect that of course. For that reason I ask that you inform us in writing if you wish to ‘opt out’.
Please be assured that if a child is apprehensive they will never be forced to have contact with Rudi.
A copy of the risk assessment is in the office and on the school website.