The School Dog

School Dog Project

A collaborative project between Stocklake Park Special School and Dogs for Good

Patience, our highly trained School Dog, assists students in school on a regular basis. Our school dog handler Claire, from Dogs for Good, trains and works with Patience so that she can support students’ learning and wellbeing through activity and therapy based approaches. We are currently raising money to fund year 3 of the project.

Stocklake Park School provides care and education for students aged 11 – 19 with severe learning difficulties, profound and multiple learning difficulties and students who have moderate learning difficulties with other complex needs.

A significant part of the school curriculum is about developing independence, communication and life skills so that students can better access their community and be involved in decisions about their lives. We have many projects in which Patience can help students to achieve these skills:


  • My Wellbeing: Learning how to care for and look after Patience enables students to develop a greater sense of responsibility as well as supporting their learning about self-care and hygiene, leading to increased independence.
  • Occupational Therapy: Activities with Patience such as grooming or exploring (looking at, holding, sniffing) different types of food treats that Patience eats, can help to support an occupational therapy programme for a student that is developing their hand eye regard.
  • Community: Accessing the community can be challenging for some of our students. Patience is a great focus: reducing the impact that environmental distractions can have and increasing concentration. Students watch Patience, follow her, stop at kerbs and help with decision making about when it is safe for Patience to cross the road.
  • Responsibility: Students take an active role in providing care for Patience which gives them a sense of responsibility and increased self-esteem.
  • Physiotherapy: A creative approach has helped with assisting students in reaching their physiotherapy targets. Tasks to improve mobility such as stretching, reaching and balancing, can be incorporated into activities with Patience which help to improve motivation.
  • Speech and Language Therapy: Patience is currently supporting a student who uses eyegaze technology, motivating them by responding to requests such as “fetch” or “come” when the student deliberately selects a cell on the device using their eyes.
  • Friends Club: Involvement in a social group where the discussions and activities around Patience provide a shared interest and the opportunity to develop social communication and conversational skills, turn taking and sharing skills as well as promoting friendships throughout the school.
  • Achievement: Students work towards achieving personal goals, collecting so many paw prints, resulting in time with Patience and a choice of activity with her such as: sitting with her, playing a game with her, making something for her or accompanying her to the park.


We need your help to continue funding this innovative, successful project through our school charity, MASKS (Registered Charity No. 1109902).

You can help by:

  • Making a donation: MASKS just giving page: – specify “School Dog”
  • Holding a sponsored event
  • Donating raffle prizes
  • Registering with us for a collection box
  • Volunteering to help out at our fundraising events

For more information please contact:

Claire Lush, School Dog Handler: / 01296 423507

Amanda Housego, Fundraising & Marketing Officer :  / 01296 427221