School Dog Project
A collaborative project between The Vale Federation and Dogs for Good
The School Dog Project is a collaboration between The Vale Federation and Dogs for Good. School Dog Handler, Claire, from Dogs for Good, works with two school dogs, one at a time, to support students’ learning and wellbeing through activity and therapy based approaches. School Dog Zeus is based at Stocklake Park School, our secondary provision, and School Dog Doyle is based at Booker Park School, our primary provision.
Our School Dog Handler Claire is highly skilled to train and support the dogs with their carefully planned timetables. We have a referral process in place where teachers and therapists can suggest students that might benefit from the project. Claire and the heads of the schools work together to plan which student referrals are timetabled in and once this has been planned, Claire will devise a programme for the students together with the referring staff member, helping pupils to achieve their learning goals.
Doyle started visiting Booker Park School in July 2019; at the moment he is undergoing his school specific training with Claire. The project is new to Booker Park and staff are currently sending in their referrals to work with Doyle. Children and staff are excited about working with Doyle and have been enjoying helping him to settle in and support his training.
Zeus has been working at Stocklake Park School since February 2019, following the retirement of previous school dog Patience. Zeus has settled in to his role brilliantly and his favourite sessions are those which are more active and involve lots of treats! Some examples of learning outcomes and activities that Zeus is currently work with students include:
To increase attention and focus, encourage visual attention to an object/person/something he is engaging with and improve coordination. Activities involve: building agility equipment and teaching Zeus how to navigate this and walking with Zeus holding a second lead.
Speech and Language Therapy:
To continue to develop consistent use of single symbols on her ‘talker’ using her hands to touch or her eye gaze to direct the ‘talker’. This involves Zeus responding to different requests that the student asks through her computer such as “come” so that she can stroke him and “brush” so that she can brush him.
To actively strengthen thigh muscles, improve core balance and stretching exercises to improve posture. Activities involve: Zeus stretching upwards with his front paws on a bench, demonstrating a straight back to the student and waiting for the student to copy. Fetching a toy and placing it just our of reach so that the student stretches to pick up and throw the toy again. Zeus lying on the floor in a position that enables the student to stretch forward in the sitting position, grooming Zeus whilst keeping his legs straight.
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: www.justgiving.com/MASKS – 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: email@example.com / 01296 423507
Amanda Housego, Fundraising & Marketing Officer : firstname.lastname@example.org / 01296 427221
Zeus and Doyle now have their own YouTube channel, have a look at what they get up to with their home boarders: