Our School dog
Toby is SGS Pegasus School dog. Toby was born on the 24th January 2011. He is a Gold Cocker Spaniel and his Kennel Club name is “Lujesa Tobias the First”. Toby belongs to Mrs Goldhawk.
This is Toby when he was a puppy.
School dogs have become increasingly popular in the recent years, as dogs in school can offer pupils so many positive experiences. There is a vast amount of research available that supports this.
Toby is a registered Pets As Therapy dog . For more information about Pets As Therapy, see http://petsastherapy.org. He was assessed by the Pets As Therapy local trainer to be suitable to work with pupils. With parental permission, over a period of time, pupils who are fearful of dogs are supported in approaching, handling and gaining confidence in their interaction with the school dog, if they want to. This opportunity brings many positive experiences for pupils and develops their sense of responsibility, language skills and social skills.
While Toby's main place of residence is in the office area, which is secure and separate from the classrooms, pupils are able to interact with Toby in the classrooms and in the playground. This is under strict supervision as long as parental permission has been given. Interaction with Toby with pupils, staff and other visitors is always with adult supervision and mutual consent. We have undertaken a full risk assessment which considers all risks and actions we will take to mitigate these. At no time, are pupils left unsupervised with Toby. He is gentle and wags his tail a lot.
Some benefits of a school dog include: -
Emotional - seeing Toby improves self-esteem, encourages smiling and laughter
Physical - interaction with Toby can reduce blood pressure and heart rate as he can be a calming influence during times of high anxiety
Social – seeing Toby can provides a positive mutual topic for discussion, promotes greater self-esteem and well-being, and encourage social communication and social interaction
Learning – Toby loves to listen to pupils reading, they can count with him and tell him all about the learning they are doing in class