Tara - Our School Dog

Meet Tara – Our School Dog

We are very excited to introduce you to a very special member of staff. Tara is a Beagle who has become an integral part of our school community.

So what does a school dog do?

Tara will become part of the fabric of daily school life. She will participate in classroom activities and work with individual students and groups.

Research has proven that petting a dog releases happy hormones in your brain, so if your child is having a difficult day, spending 10 minutes with her can boost their mood greatly.

What are the benefits of having a school dog?

Numerous research studies have shown the benefits of therapy dogs in schools. Therapy dogs have been working in schools for a number of years across the UK. However, they have been commonplace in schools in the USA and Australia for many years.

Evidence indicates that benefits include:

Cognitive – companionship with a dog stimulates memory, problem-solving and game playing

Social – a dog provides a positive mutual topic for discussion, encourages responsibility, wellbeing and focused interaction with others

Emotional – 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 – interaction with a furry friend reduces blood pressure, provides tactile stimulation, assists with pain management, gives motivation to move, walk and stimulates the senses

Environmental – a dog in a school increases the sense of a family environment, with all of the above benefits continuing long after the school day is over.

Reading – reading to dogs has been proven to help children develop literacy skills and build confidence, through both the calming effect the dog’s presence has on children as well as the fact that a dog will listen to children read without being judgemental or critical. This comforting environment helps to nurture children’s enthusiasm for reading and provides them with the confidence to read aloud.

Some concerns you might have

My child is allergic to dogs

It is understandable that some of you may be concerned about possible allergic reactions to a school dog. However, Tara will be subjected to the most thorough cleanliness and grooming regime. She will also only be allowed in situations with pupils who voluntarily wish to work with her. Your permission will, of course, be sought in advance of Tara having access to, and working with, your child in school.

Will Tara be properly cared for?

Tara is extremely well looked after. She lives with Mr Bashford and his family and will come to school most days. Whilst Tara is in school, she will have access to Mrs Atkins' and Hayley’s offices, where she can relax during the day. Tara will visit the vet regularly for all her injections as well as regular check-ups. If Tara is unwell for any reason, she will stay at home with a babysitter!

My child is scared of dogs

Some children may have had upsetting experiences and thus have a fear of dogs (or another animal). Tara will only be in contact with children whose parents have given their permission. Experience and research have shown that with proper guidance and handling, children can learn to overcome their fear of animals and grow in respect and appreciation for them, however, we will never push a child out of their comfort zone with her.