We are developing an exciting initiative at Yewstock to support our pupils using “Pet Therapy”.
“Pet Therapy” is widely accepted as benefitting children’s well-being and communication skills. Studies have shown that the presence of companion animals can improve the well-being of children and lower the rate of anxiety simply by making the environment happier, more enjoyable and less forbidding. Dogs are increasingly being used in schools with great success and some of you may have seen in the media that they are now being used in some hospitals as the emotional health benefits they bring are so vast.
Of particular interest, is the current move towards ‘Reading Dogs’ and ‘Animal Assisted Interventions’. The former is based on research which shows that many children who find reading practice difficult are often more willing and able to read to the non-judgemental audience of an animal than they are to a human being. Therapy dogs are similarly being used as a form of comfort and relaxation for children and adults who may need ‘someone to talk to’ or just someone who will accept them and offer comfort or a calming influence in their lives. There is much evidence to suggest that some children who struggle with relationships or with managing their emotions can gain a great deal from spending time with a pet.
With these ideas in mind, our governors have agreed to the concept of having a school therapy dog at Yewstock. Over the past few months, we have been working to find an appropriate breed of puppy with the right temperament, is hypoallergenic and doesn’t shed in order to support those children who may have allergies.