There are a number of benefits of having a therapy dog at school for both the children and staff. Our pre-prep therapy dog Tessa can often be found listening to the children read, playing with them on the back lawn or sometimes just comforting them if they are having a tricky day. Below we have written a short diary extract from Tessa herself about her days at Hatherop.
My School Day
My morning starts early, waking up at home, having a stretch before waking up my own two small humans with lots of licks and kisses. I always know when it’s a school day because my owner, Mrs Thomasin-Foster, packs my treats and favourite toys into her school bag.
When I get to school, I pop into the staff room and say hello to some of the teachers, who always smile when they see me in the morning. As I walk down the Yew Walk, I keep an eye out for any birds or squirrels, one day I even sniffed out a rabbit!
As the children arrive, I greet each of them with a sniff and wag of my tail. I love to check each of the children into the Stable Yard each morning and if someone is feeling a little unsure about coming into school, I can help to walk them to their classroom.
As the morning starts, I settle down in the Prep 2 classroom, often wandering in between children as they sit on the carpet for the register, saying good morning and sniffing them. Phonics is one of my favourite lessons and I often lie in the middle of all the children whilst they learn a new sound.
Next I sit with the children as they listen to the next part of their class text in an English lesson. As they settle to work, I wander around the class, notice that someone has knocked an eraser to the floor and pick it up. Then, one of the children comes and sits with me, I love being read aloud to and listen patiently whilst they read their book. Maths follows, today, the class are using Base 10 to learn more about place value. I’m not as interested in maths as I know it is nearly morning break and I’m always excited to go and play with the whole school on Back Lawn.
Break time finally arrives and I lead the way to the Back Lawn. The children love to throw my ball and play fetch. If I’m really lucky, Mr Nish comes out to throw my ball, he can throw it really far.
At the end of break, as we walk back to the Stable Yard, I make sure to stop at Mr McConnell’s science lab, he’s one of my favourite teachers and sometimes he even has a dog biscuit in his pocket.
The afternoon lessons fly by, I listen to a few more children read their books when they come and sit on the carpet with me. I love to come down to the gate at the end of the day to say goodbye to the children. Today, Mrs Thomasin-Foster is looking after children in crèche and I love to play fetch with them in the Stable Yard whilst they play outside.
When I finally get home, I enjoy my dinner before curling up and sleeping soundly. Being a school dog is the best job ever, but I do get very tired!