Bodhi - Training and 'pup-date'.
Bodhi, our new 'in training' therapy/school dog (puppy)' has now visited the school on two occasions to meet some of the children. The purpose of these initial visits has been to get him used to the sights, noise and smells at Ashgate Primary School, in particular larger groups of children.
He has met some classes, but in line with C19 restrictions, this has been with only one group bubble (Year 5/6). In addition, as orientation to the school is new it has been predominantly with older children who are more likely to follow the instructions given and who are less likely to be startled should he move suddenly, bark with excitement or, as is more often the case, attempt to lick them! Before his official role begins, it is important that he is used to a wide range of in school settings, groups and individuals.
Training is going very well. Although initially excited when introduced to a physical classroom (he only 5 months old), he greets the children calmly, wags his tail and sits when they stroke him (or rolls on the floor for belly rubs). He gives the children 'high fives' with enthusiasm and shows them some of his basic tricks.
Next steps: The plan is that when ready, Bohdi (as with his counterpart Molly and previously Fred) will visit children who would benefit from some emotional support, confidence building and 'smile time'! Likewise, he will visit other children for reading sessions or simply for a fuss. He is on track to be able to do so as of September, when a more structured programme will be put in place.
School dogs in general - information for parents.
If you would like to know more about our school/therapy dog and pets, there is a dedicated page on the school website called 'Meet the Therapy Pets'. All the key information around the purpose, planning and expectations are available on this page.
As shared before, a school dog is risk assessed, provided opportunity to function in a school setting and has an established, well- known and safe temprement. The close supervision, assessment and planning for a school dog is not mirrored by other family pets in the community, and for that reason parent and children dogs are not allowed on school site.