Dogs con­nect­ing with school kids

McIvor Times - - RABBIT STEW - By DAVID RAK

HOLY Rosary prin­ci­pal Paul Dullard hasn’t seen too many stu­dents fit in as well as Bri­die.

The Labradoo­dle was a hit with staff and stu­dents when she started vis­it­ing the school with Grant Shan­non.

Grant, Bri­die and his other dog Sonny have been work­ing with Holy Rosary stu­dents as part of the Dogs Con­nect pro­gram.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion aims to im­prove con­nect­ed­ness within school com­mu­ni­ties by us­ing dogs to im­pact the school cul­ture.

And it has had a ma­jor im­pact on stu­dents, ac­cord­ing to Mr Dullard.

“I wasn’t 100 per cent sure of the ben­e­fits the pro­gram would have but it has proved help­ful,” he said.

“Grant and the dogs have brought an amaz­ing calm­ness to the school. They are beau­ti­ful dogs and the chil­dren are learn­ing about so­cial and emo­tional skills through them.

“Not only are they learn­ing about emo­tions and how to con­trol them but they are also get­ting lessons in the re­spon­si­bil­ity that comes with own­ing and tak­ing care of an an­i­mal.”

Mr Dullard said the dogs had been work­ing and in­ter­act­ing with grade four and five chil­dren in sev­eral ways.

“The chil­dren were look­ing at heart rates of the dogs and how it re­lates to their height­ened be­hav­iour,” he said.

“This is lead­ing them to a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of their own heart rate and how to man­age be­hav­iour es­ca­la­tions. Learn­ing through the dogs makes it a great ex­pe­ri­ence for ev­ery­one.

“Stu­dents also take them for walks. It gives them a chance to get some fresh air and take a break.”

Mr Dullard said the ben­e­fits of the Dogs Con­nect pro­gram were un­fold­ing ev­ery day.

“The staff are notic­ing a con­nec­tion be­tween the dogs and the stu­dents and that al­lows them to calm them­selves through the an­i­mals,” he said.

Labradoo­dle Bri­die has been mak­ing friends at Holy Rosary Pri­mary School.

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