Our School Dog
We are all very excited at Broomhill about the prospect of having our very own school dog. Our puppy is a Spanish Water Dog and it has just been born. This page will keep you up to date with all the latest news on the latest member of our Broomhill Family!
Below is our very first photograph of our school dog.
Very latest picture of our Broomhill dog. Hopefully we will be picking her up during half term.
Letter from Pearl.
Dear Parent/carers of Broomhill,
My role as school dog is challenging and varied but I feel that I am more than up to the task and I love my job. Numerous research studies have shown the benefits of dogs in schools. Therapy dogs have been working in schools across the UK for the past 5 years. However, they have been commonplace in schools in the USA and Australia for many years now. Evidence indicates that areas of potential benefits include:
• Cognitive development – companionship with a dog stimulates memory, problem-solving, game-playing and can improve reading skills.
• Emotional development – a school dog improves self-esteem, acceptance from others and lifts mood, often provoking laughter and fun. Dogs can also teach compassion and respect for other living things as well as relieving anxiety.
• Physical development – interaction with a pet reduces blood pressure, provides tactile stimulation, assists with pain management, gives motivation to move, walk and stimulates the senses.
• Environmental benefits – a dog in a school contributes towards the creation of home style environment, with all of the above benefits continuing long after the school day is over.
• Social benefits – a dog provides a positive mutual topic for discussion, encourages responsibility, wellbeing, developing social skills and focused interaction with others.
But what does my role as school dog at Broomhill Junior School entail? During school hours I have a challenging and ever-changing job. I spend a lot of time helping Mr B-Y, I also support a variety of interventions including being a listening ear (and as everybody knows, dogs can hear a lot better than humans) and emotional support. I also work as a reading dog where I will listen to children reading me stories and answering questions. Sometimes, I join a class for a lesson or two if it will enrich the experience in some way.
I love being at Broomhill and enjoy all the attention I get.
I am a Spanish water Dog. I do not shed fur, making it highly unlikely that anyone will be allergic to me.
I look forward to meeting you
During the day, Pearl will be kept in Mr B-Y’s room or main school office. A suitable bed, food, water and cleaning supplies will be held for the puppy, and through training she will be sufficiently toilet-trained. I must stress that pupils will not be expected to clean up any dog mess, and we will ensure that the school grounds are kept clean at all times. Once her training is complete, the puppy will visit pupils in their classrooms, particularly for children to read to her, and take part in intervention programmes.
We understand that many parents may have concerns regarding bringing a school dog onto the premises, and I would like to use this letter to provide some reassurance to parents. We have undertaken a full risk assessment to ensure that any hazards can be adequately controlled which is available for you to look at should you wish. Below, I have tried to answer some of the concerns which I believe parents may have.
What type of dog is Pearl?
Pearl is a Spanish Water dog, chosen for having a mild temperament and a non-moulting coat.
Will she live in school?!
She will live with Mr Beckinsale-Yates as a family pet. She will come into school for 2-3 days each week. She may come for mornings at first and then gradually stay for a bit longer.
Will she have a bed in school?
She will have a bed and some private space in Mr B-Y’s room. Her bowl will also be in this private space. Everyone will respect her rest time and will not disturb her when she is resting or sleeping.
What happens if she has a poo?
Pearl is house trained. If she has a poo whilst exercising in school grounds or when out for a walk, the supervising adult will clear it up immediately and dispose of it appropriately. Children will never be allowed to do this.
What happens if she has a wee on the carpet?
Pearl is house trained. In the event of an accident, the carpet will be cleaned thoroughly and suitable cleaning materials will be used.
Can we take her for a walk?
Yes – Pearl will be kept on a lead when moving between classrooms, around the school grounds or between the school sites. Pearl will be under full control and supervision of an adult at all times.
Can we stroke her?
Yes – the supervising adult will organise this safely. Pearl may be stroked gently. The rules around petting Pearl will be explained and modelled clearly. These rules will be re-iterated regularly and safety will be paramount. Children and adults will always wash their hands after handling the dog.
Can we feed her?
Pearl normally has two meals a day – morning and evening at home. If she needs any snacks in school, Mr B-Y will sort these out and ensure Pearl is undisturbed in her own resting area. Children must not eat food around her or try to feed her bits of their own food. Pearl will not go into the dining hall during lunchtimes.
What if I don’t like dogs?
That’s fine – we know some people can be nervous of dogs. Children and adults in school may have as much or as little involvement as they wish. Hopefully, in time, as they see other children participating they will become confident to have some involvement with Pearl.
What if she bites me?
Children will have lots of opportunities to learn about how dogs express their feelings through their body language. If there are even the slightest indications that Pearl is displaying any of these signs, she will immediately be removed from the school environment.
Can I bring my dog into school?
No, sorry. Pearl has undergone the relevant checks and will continue to attend regular assessments. Whilst we understand that you know and love your pets, we can’t be sure how they may react in school and so we ask you to leave them at home or keep them outside school grounds when they come to meet you.
Will visitors know about her?
Yes – whenever Pearl is in residence, a sign will be visible in the school office informing visitors.
- Always remain calm
- Be gentle
- Do not put your face near Pixel’s
- Do not disturb her when she is eating or sleeping
- Always approach her standing up and from the front
- Please do not feed her bits of your own food
My child is allergic to dogs and I don’t want them to have an allergic reaction: As previously mentioned, we have chosen a Spanish Water dog, which is renowned for its non-allergenic coat and does not malt, meaning there is a significantly reduced risk of an allergic reaction. If, however, you would still prefer your child not to come into contact with the puppy, we will accommodate your request and ensure that arrangements are in place. We have undertaken a thorough risk assessment, which details the hygiene practices that will be in place – such as cleaning of hands and the environment before and after coming into contact with the puppy.
Will the dog be properly cared for? The puppy will be subject to a rigorous grooming process to prevent the risk of infection or disease. She will be kept in Mr B-Y’s room or main office during the day and will have adequate supply of food and water. You can find more information on these arrangements in our risk assessment.
My child is scared of dogs: We understand that some children may be fearful of dogs. Spanish Water dogs are known for being extremely child-friendly and our puppy will provide the opportunity for children to overcome their fears. The training that our puppy will undergo will ensure that she is well-behaved, gentle and calm around children. If parents would prefer for their child not to come into contact with her, we will accommodate your request and ensure alternative arrangements are in place.
Is the dog well-behaved? As previously mentioned, she is undergoing training to ensure she is well-behaved at all times. She will be kept on a short lead whenever walking around school and she will only come into contact with pupils once her training is complete and the trainer is satisfied that she can be around children safely.
Today has been Pearls very first visit to Broomhill. She met all the children during our Achievement Assembly and also introduced herself to lots of the children during the day. Welcome to the Broomhill Family Pearl.