A puppy stole the hearts of students at a school in Downton while helping to make them feel better.
Boo the Labrador, just over four months old, is owned by school principal Jonathan Curtis, who takes her to school a few days a week.
Her calm demeanor has been used to help students, especially those with anxiety.
However, Curtis says that it was all “purely coincidental”.
A Labrador who was part of one of the school’s teaching assistants was expecting a litter of eight pups and he had mentioned that he would have him as a pet if there was another.
“Lo and behold, they had an extra one,” said Mr Curtis.
“It was really just for me and my family and then someone suggested it was a nice breed for schools and why not try it out as a school dog.
“I brought her a couple of times and the kids took her in and she was great with them. Everyone fell in love with her.”
Students sign up for a tour to guide the puppy, which is “completely full”. Boo is supervised when she is out.
She also helps with the reading program where students read to her and is a “great stress reliever” not only for students but also for staff.
“We are in the process of figuring out how to use them more effectively,” adds Curtis.
“She has the most wonderful temperament and was a real hit.”
Boo also enjoys playing soccer with the kids and taking part in meetings.
Students say Boo helps them overcome fear of entering school and can also be a good distraction from exams and other worries.
Seeing Boo cheers them up, they say too.
Curtis says there are no plans to officially train her as a therapy dog, but she will help in that role at the school. But he pays attention to her well-being and makes sure that she is not too overwhelmed.
He says he has noticed a difference in students and staff at the school since she started school.
“The school is really quiet, but I think it’s part of the welcoming atmosphere. We see Trafalgar as a family and a community school and a dog just complements that family.”
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