Following the success of our “Reading Dog”, Rufus, who has been coming into school since November 2014 on a Monday morning with one of our reading volunteers, Carol, from a charity called ‘Read2Dogs’ http://petsastherapy.org/what-we-do/read2dogs/, to listen to our children read, the Senior Leadership Team and Governors of Granard Primary School considered the options regarding the possibility of obtaining our own ‘therapy’ dog for the school in June 2017. The rationale to have a ‘School Therapy Dog’ was to have a dog that the children could interact with and also be of benefit to the children’s social and emotional educational development.
Mabel, a Labradoodle puppy, is owned by Miss Murray, Deputy Head. Prior to purchasing Mabel, Miss Murray spoke to the breeders and visited the home of the dog’s parents to ensure that the temperament of the parents was suitable for interaction with children.
The puppy lives with Miss Murray in her home at her own expense and is to be introduced to the school environment and the children gradually. Miss Murray takes Mabel to a local vet’s practice where Mabel is checked for any illnesses. Miss Murray is responsible for Mabel’s vaccination programme being kept up-to-date, including rabies and her worming treatment in line with European vet guidelines. Miss Murray keeps a record of all of Mabel’s health checks.
Mabel is currently undertaking puppy training. Once this is complete, she will be assessed for her ability to become a fully qualified ‘therapy dog’. Research shows that interacting with animals has the potential to provide many positive benefits to children’s wellbeing. However, any parent who does not wish their child to interact with Mabel should inform the school immediately. An annual risk assessment will be carried out and the impact of a ‘school dog’ will be evaluated by the Senior Leadership Team of Granard Primary School.