Dog days help kids stay safe
No touch, no talk, no look.
That’s the message that Annie Aubrey and her dog Sam are spreading to schoolkids about how to keep safe around strange pooches.
Ms Aubrey and Sam visit primary schools where they teach children how to meet dogs.
‘‘The kids are told that you never come up to a dog, you let the dog come up to you,’’ Ms Aubrey says.
As well as ‘‘no touch, no talk, no look’’, pupils are told to ‘‘stand tall and put your hero suit on’’.
‘‘It’s about establishing yourself in the pack leader position,’’ Ms Aubrey says.
She says often the children will be a little apprehensive around the fluffy samoyedkeeshond cross until they are invited to touch his ‘‘magic tail’’.
By the end the students are stroking his face.
At Mt Roskill Primary school, Sam has visited each classroom for a 30 to 45 minute session.
Teacher Jamuna Manohar says the experience is fabulous for the children.
‘‘You can easily see the confidence the children were developing. It was amazing the learning they got out of it. And it’s not just in this classroom, it’s whole school.’’
Sam already has bookings to go back and meet the new entrants at Mt Roskill Primary and seven other schools next year.
The Sam’s Dog Rules programme was set up two years ago by Ms Aubrey and her friend Marj Mulholland.
The pair saw a need to educate children about the dangers of approaching a strange dog after reading ACC statistics.
Last year 11,708 dog attacks were reported to ACC and 1763 of the victims were aged under nine.
‘‘And that’s just what has been reported,’’ Ms Mulholland says.
So far the pair have been running the programme for free in the Mt Albert and Mt Roskill area, but would like to find a sponsor.
Dog’s life: Annie Aubrey and Sam the Dog are a popular pair at Mt Roskill Primary School where they give lessons on how to act around strange dogs.