Annie – The Dog Mentor

We are delighted to introduce a new member of the school team, Annie who is the school Dog Mentor. Annie is an 8-year-old Cockerpoo who lives with Gemma Farrell, our Family Support Worker. She is a very friendly dog, who loves to be around people and loves to be fussed. Annie passed her Dog Mentor Programme assessment with flying colours and Gemma Farrell has received training to be Annie’s handler in school. Annie’s role as the school dog will be challenging and varied, but we know she is more than capable of fulfilling this role. Annie has been learning how to greet people and where and when she can play, helping her to ease into school life slowly.

In time, she will develop her own timetable and join certain classes to support a variety of aspects of learning. Annie has two bases within school, the Pastoral Office and Reception and will be supported by an adult at all times.

The Dog Mentor Introduction PDF

The Dog Mentor Outline PDF

Studies have shown there are many benefits to having a school pet, but most simply, the presence of a school dog will improve the climate of the school by increasing a feeling of calm; helping students to feel relaxed and ready to learn.

Other benefits include:

• Cognitive – companionship with a dog stimulates memory, problem-solving and game-playing and can improve reading skills.

• Social – a dog provides a positive mutual topic for discussion, encourages responsibility, wellbeing, developing social skills 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.

• 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 has been proven to help children develop literacy skills and build confidence, 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.

We recognise that there may be some concerns regarding allergies, if your child has known allergies please let us know when completing ‘the opt out’ documentation.

The Dog Mentor Opt Out Letter

Some children may have had upsetting experiences and have a fear of dogs (or another animals). Annie will only be in contact with children who wish to engage with her. Annie’s training will help her to be calm and gentle around children. If your child has a fear of dogs, please let us know when completing ‘the opt out’ documentation.

We have implemented a policy and risk assessment that outlines how we will care for and manage Annie and her activities in school. 

Please see the link to The Dog Mentor website

The Dog Mentoring Policy

Our Dog Risk Assessment is available upon request from the school office