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Barrow U.R.C. Primary School

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Our School Dog

Ludo

Ludo is a miniature Cockapoo and after visiting school over Christmas for a good sniff around, he is now ready to start coming in and join our school family. So far he has enjoyed snoozing under Mrs Smith's desk and siting on Mrs McArdle's knee whilst she types emails.

 

In the coming months, Ludo will undertake training to work with children who have special needs, or who are upset in any way and in need of calm, comfort and space before being able to tell an adult what has upset them. However, before then Ludo, Mrs McArdle and Mrs Smith must attend Puppy training classes and also school dog training classes which will happen inside school. Until he has completed his training he will not interact with the children on an individual or small group basis.  

 

Once fully trained, Ludo will spend his days visiting the classrooms, listening to readers from across the school and going for walks at lunch times with a teacher and children. Sometimes he will even help us out by looking after anyone who is feeling a bit sad - a little stroke and a look into those big eyes is enough to make anyone feel happy again. 

There are many benefits to having a school dog, including: 

  • a calming effect on pupils, particularly those with behavioural or learning difficulties 

  • improved behaviour and concentration, reduced stress and improved self-esteem 

  • encouraging expression and participation in more withdrawn children  

  • fostering a sense of responsibility 

  • motivating pupils to think and to learn, as most children have a high level of natural interest in, enthusiasm for and enjoyment of animals 

  • encouraging respect and thereby improving pupils’ relationships with each other, parents and teachers 

  • teaching children to nurture and respect life 

  • helping work undertaken with the most vulnerable children, and educational improvements with low achievers 

  • helping children build confidence in reading.    We are aware that some parents, teachers and children may be unsure around dogs and we have organised a series of sessions and assemblies to explain how to help Ludo feel like part of the school family so everyone feels safe and happy together. Our dog will also be available to work with children (and adults) who have had bad experiences with dogs or other animals.  With parental permission, over a period of time children who react fearfully to dogs will be supported in approaching, handling and gaining confidence in managing their fear. While the dog’s main place of residence will be an office area, which is secure and separate from the classrooms, children will able to interact with the dog under strict supervision at certain times of the week as long as parental permission has been given. The dog will not be given access to other visitors without supervision or mutual consent. Please understand that we will do everything we can to reassure children who are fearful and that under no circumstances will they be forced to meet with the dog.  Whilst moving around the school, Ludo will be kept on a short lead and will always be with an adult. We have chosen a Cockapoo as the most appropriate breed of dog for the school. The breed has been carefully selected because of its ideal temperament and because it is used widely in the field of therapy and support (e.g. hearing dogs). Cockapoos are also used successfully in other schools as they are, by nature gentle and friendly creatures.    Over the coming weeks, the children will be getting to know more about Ludo and his breed of dog. We have introduced a post box outside the office and are encouraging children to ask any questions or write him a letter if they wish. We will be creating a Puppy Passport together and this will give you more information on what Ludo likes, dislikes etc. Watch this space!   Please follow us on Facebook if you would like to watch Ludo’s adventures as he settles into Barrow life. 

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