Bowser – Our School Therapy Dog
We are very pleased to welcome our new member of staff, Bowser our Therapy Dog.
Our Therapy Dog is a Boston Terrier called Bowser, he is 2 years old and belongs to Mrs Connor and her family.
Bowser has undergone a rigorous training programme and has achieved both Bronze and Silver Good Citizen Awards as well as Temperament and TDT UK – Visiting Therapy Dog Assessments.
Why have a School Therapy Dog?
There are many benefits to having a therapy dog in a school setting, the main one being the health and well- being of both pupils and staff alike. A dog has an immediate calming effect by just being near. Bowser is a typical Boston Terrier, calm, affectionate and very gentle natured. He is a much-loved staff member now and an integral part of the St. Patrick’s School family.
The role of therapy dogs is to react and respond to people and their environment, under the guidance and direction of their handler. For example, an individual might be encouraged to gently pat or talk to a dog to teach sensitive touch and help them be calm.
Having a dog in school has the potential to help young children to develop in a range of academic, personal and social areas.
Benefits of Well-being Dogs
Animal assisted therapy can:
- teach empathy and appropriate interpersonal skills
- help individuals develop social skills
- be soothing and the presence of animals can more quickly build rapport between the teacher and pupil, and
- improve individual’s skills to pick up social cues imperative to human relationships.
Research into the effects of well-being dogs in schools is showing a range of benefits including:
- increase in school attendance
- gains in confidence
- decreases in learner anxiety behaviours resulting in improved learning outcomes, such as increases in reading and writing levels
- positive changes towards learning and improved motivation, and
- enhanced relationships with peers and teachers due to experiencing trust and unconditional love from a therapy dog. This in turn helps students learn how to express their feelings and enter into more trusting relationships.