School Dog Mentor
My name is Otto and I am the Linden Primary School Dog Mentor. I am a three-year-old Cockerpoo and live with Mrs Collins and her family. I am new to the school (January 2022) but have passed my Dog Mentor Programme assessment with flying colours. Mrs Collins and Miss Jenkins have both received training to be my handlers in school. My role as school dog will be challenging and varied, but I feel that I am more than up to the task. I love being around people and making them happy. Numerous research studies have shown the benefits of dogs in schools and evidence indicates that areas of potential benefits include:
- Cognitive development – companionship with a dog stimulates memory, problem-solving, game-playing and can improve reading skills.
- Emotional development – a school dog improves self-esteem, acceptance from others and lifts mood, often provoking laughter and fun. Dogs can also teach compassion and respect for other living things as well as relieving anxiety.
- Physical development – interaction with a pet reduces blood pressure, provides tactile stimulation, assists with pain management, gives motivation to move, walk and stimulates the senses.
- Environmental benefits – a dog in a school contributes towards the creation of home style environment, with all of the above benefits continuing long after the school day is over.
- Social benefits – a dog provides a positive mutual topic for discussion, encourages responsibility, wellbeing, developing social skills and focused interaction with others.
But what will my role as dog mentor at Linden Primary School entail during school hours?
I will have an interesting and ever-changing job. At the moment, I am just getting used to the school environment and will only be in school for a few days each week. I am learning how to greet people and where and when I can play. I am spending a lot of time in Mrs Collins’ office and with Miss Jenkins whilst I am introduced to school life slowly. Over time, I will work as a Dog Mentor and will follow planned sessions with individual children or small groups of children as needed. I am also very excited about hearing children read. Sometimes, I may join a class for a lesson or two if it will enrich the experience in some way.
I am a cockapoo, a cross between a cocker spaniel and a poodle. This means that I shed little to no fur, making it highly unlikely that anyone will be allergic to me.
I plan on keeping my section of the website up-to-date with comments and photographs documenting my time in school. If you have any further questions regarding my role within the school please contact either Mrs Collins or Miss Jenkins via the school office.