Our School Dog – Nellie

Introducing Nellie

Nellie belongs to Mr Lee, she is an American Bulldog puppy who has been coming into school over the last few weeks. The plan is, that she will be trained up to become a Therapy dog so that she can come into school and help the students.  She is currently 15 weeks old so can’t start her training just yet but we are all looking forward to having her around.

About Pets as Therapy

Pets as Therapy https://petsastherapy.org/ say “PAT Dogs provide comfort, encourage positive social behaviours, enhance self-esteem, motivate speech and inspire young people to have fun.”

There are many benefits to having a Therapy dog in school, these include:

  • Emotional – seeing Nellie will improve self-esteem, encourage smiling and laughter.
  • Physical – interaction with Nellie can reduce blood pressure and heart rate as she can be a calming influence during times of high anxiety.
  • Social – seeing Nellie can provide a positive mutual topic for discussion, promotes greater self-esteem and well-being, and encourage social communication and social interaction.
  • Learning – Nellie will eventually be able to listen to pupils reading, they will be able to count with her and tell her all about the learning they are doing in class. 

You might be thinking …

What if my child is allergic to dogs?

It is understandable that families and carers may be concerned about possible allergic reactions to a school dog. Nellie is groomed daily before she goes to school and she is also professionally bathed and groomed regularly. Pupils will only meet Nellie if they wish to. Children will be shown that after petting Nellie, they will need to wash their hands. Families and carers will be asked to let school know if their child has a known allergy to dogs.

What is my child is scared of dogs?

We totally understand that some children may be scared of dogs (or other animals). Nellie will only meet children for whom we have permission.  Nellie is currently undergoing behaviour training.  She will not be allowed to jump up at pupils or run after them. We will work with families and carers to see if small exposure to Nellie may help a child overcome their fear. We will teach all children that they must always ask an owner to pet a dog and Nellie is no exception (this teaches skills for when children meet dogs out of school and also supports social communication and social interaction within school). 

What about the dog’s toileting?

Nellie has a well-established toilet routine. She will be walked before school by Mr Lee and he knows her routine well enough to be confident that she does not ask to go to the toilet during the day. If on an incredibly rare occasion Nellie does have a toileting accident in school, then this will be cleared up immediately and the area disinfected. Mr Lee will consider why this happened and put in steps to prevent this happening again.

Who is covering the costs of the dog?

100% Mr Lee is Nellie’s owner. All costs for Nellie (food, vet’s fees, Insurance, Pets As Therapy fees) are covered by him as her owner.

Will the school dog be at school every day? 

No. Nellie will like some days at home. This is important for her as a dog. The pupils will know Nellie is in school by a schedule in the school.

I have some other questions …

Feel free to ring or email school or pop in and meet Nellie yourself.