Dog days help kids stay safe

Central Leader - - NEWS - By DANIELLE STREET

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.

across the

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.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

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.

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