Dolly the Therapy Dog
Hello everyone. My name is Dolly and I am a Cavapoo. I was born on the 31st of December 2022. I am really looking forward to working with all the pupils and staff at Botwell, but I am still very nervous. Just like the children at Botwell, I am also learning. I will be starting puppy training very soon, where I will learn how to listen and follow instructions. I will need all the pupils at Botwell to help me with this while I am training.
As soon as I pass my puppy training, I will then challenge myself to become a Therapy Dog. I feel like my personality and nature will be perfect for helping all the pupils at Botwell with their learning. I love to listen to children read stories - it makes me feel happy and relaxed.
Until I am fully trained, I won't be working as a Therapy Dog. I will, however, be in school with the teachers who will help with my training. I'm sure I will be seeing all the children every week in the corridors and maybe during my walks in the playground. For the majority of the day, while I'm still a puppy, I will be sleeping quite a lot.
I love to sleep!
Bronze Certificate in Obedience classes
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q Who is the legal owner of the dog, and who pays for its costs?
A The legal owner of the dog will be Mr Lathwell. He will bear the costs associated with owning the dog; the school budget will support liability insurance and staff training costs only where appropriate.
Q Is the dog from a reputable breeder?
A Yes. The dog is from a home where both parents were seen and has been specifically chosen for its temperament.
Q Will the dog be a distraction to students’ learning?
A The dog will be kept in the SLT office area. The dog will only spend time in classrooms, support areas and the rest of the school at specific planned sessions and, therefore, the dog will not be a distraction to students during core lessons. The dog will also attend meetings with staff to support further socialisation, following consultation with staff beforehand.
Q Has a risk assessment been undertaken?
A Yes, we have carefully considered having a dog in school and sought advice from many sources, including other schools that successfully have a school dog.
Q Who is responsible for training?
A Mr Lathwell will be the legal owner of the dog and, as a result, will be responsible for her training. Appropriate professional training will be obtained, and the dog will work towards being trained as a school dog in dog training classes with advice from the Pets as Therapy charity. The school will have the dog assessed and certified as a therapy dog by Pets as Therapy before she begins therapy and reading sessions.
Q How will the dog be toileted to ensure hygiene for all?
A In the interest of health and hygiene, our school dog will be toileted when taken out for short walks outside the school by staff members.
Q What if my child is scared of dogs? Will they be forced to be in the same room as the dog?
A The dog will be kept in the SLTs office area. The office is separate from the classrooms / playground area, which will ensure the school dog only comes into contact with children who are happy to have contact and have parental permission for this, under strict supervision of a trained member of staff.
The school dog will not be allowed into the main playground area unless she is on a leash and will only interact with children on the leash. Therefore, a student will not be forced to be in contact with the dog at any time against their will. We hope to work closely with parents of children who are fearful of dogs to alleviate their fear and to teach them how to manage this.
Q How will the dog’s welfare be considered?
A The dog will be walked regularly and given free time outside. Parents will be able to give permission in advance to allow their child to be able to walk with a member of staff and the dog during that time. This will also be used as a behaviour reward. The dog will be kept in the SLT office with its legal owner, Mr Lathwell, and will only have planned and supervised contact with children and visitors. The dog will be carefully trained over a period of time and will have appropriate access to food and water. We will work carefully to ensure the dog’s welfare is always considered.
Q How will this be managed where children have allergies?
A The dog is hypoallergenic, meaning that her fur causes fewer allergic reactions. We already manage a number of allergies at school and this will be no different for children and adults that are allergic to dogs. Individual needs will always be met, and we are happy to work with parents to put additional control measures in place for individual allergies.