Meet Bonnie & Jake - Abbeywoods School Dogs
Many studies have shown that a school dog can have a very positive effect on students and there are many examples of how a dog can support a school community, including: encouraging students to attend school; helping students to cope with examination stress; helping to foster a sense of responsibility; improving reading confidence by having students read to them and generally bringing a warmth to the school which makes the place feel happier. Through contact with a dog, children can benefit educationally and emotionally, and develop empathy and nurturing skills. Animals in school have been shown to reduce anxiety, promote positive behaviour, increase social skills and build confidence and self-esteem.
Bonnie is an apricot Cavapoo – a Kings Charles Cavalier spaniel and poodle cross – and Jake is a black Labrador. Mrs Harding and Miss Land have generously agreed that both Bonnie and Jake can start the process to become our School Dogs. Bonnie and Jake have even started their own club: K9@ACS.
Both Bonnie and Jake will be kept clean and healthy, with all vaccinations up to date. Claws will be kept short and they’ll both undergo training with the lovely Roz, the ‘Mutty Professor’, who will train and condition the dogs to work within a school environment.
Both Bonnie and Jake are extremely friendly and are socially and emotionally intelligent but we understand that some parents/carers will have reservations about students working with the dogs or there may be students who have allergies. No students will need to have close or direct contact with the dog unless they wish to, however it would be extremely helpful if you could speak to or make contact with either Mrs Harding (Karen.Harding@abbeywoodschool.com) or Miss Land (Rachel.Land@abbeywoodschoool.com) raising any concerns.
Please note, the school has carried out a full risk assessment and will ensure that all staff and students are briefed fully before the dogs start being introduced to students. We anticipate that this will be in late September.
As you may be aware, Bradley Stoke Community School introduced Wally, a Cocker Spaniel, to their school community last year and he has successfully contributed to a really lovely warm atmosphere at the school. You may also wish to watch the BBC report which showcases the benefits of having school dogs: https://vimeo.com/208512021
We are very much looking forward to welcoming the new members to our school’s community and will keep you updated over the next few months.
"Woof!" from Jake and a "Woof!" from Bonnie