Our School Dogs: Florence and Wispa

Florence and Wispa

We are extremely lucky to have our school dogs - Florence and Wispa.

Florence is a Golden Labrador and she is two years old. Wispa is a Chocolate Labrador and is seven years old. Both dogs have been assessed for their suitability by The Dog Mentor UK.

Dogs are increasingly being welcomed into schools with great success.

Some of you may have seen, in the media that therapy dogs are now being used in some hospitals which impacts greatly on patients’ improving health and emotional well-being.

Please understand that we will do everything we can to reassure children who may be fearful and that under no circumstances will they be forced to meet with the dogs.

We hope the children will gain a great deal of enjoyment from having their school dogs and that they become full members of our team.

Florence and Wispa will be joining our team once a week alongside Mrs Wright, to begin with.

There are many benefits to having school dogs, including:

  • The presence of companion animals can improve the well-being of children and lower anxiety levels, simply by making the environment happier and more enjoyable;
  • Dogs in the classroom can be used to calm fears, relieve anxieties and teach skills;
  • Improved behaviour and concentration, reduced stress and improvement in pupils’ self-esteem;
  • Encouraging expression, participation and confidence for all children;
  • Fostering a sense of responsibility;
  • Motivating pupils to think and to learn, as most children have a high level of natural interest in, enthusiasm for and enjoyment of animals;
  • Encouraging respect and thereby improving pupils’ relationships with each other, parents and teachers;
  • Teaching children to nurture and respect life;
  • Helping children build confidence in reading;
  • Improving overall attendance;
  • Further promoting our well-being agenda for pupils and staff.

Florence and Wispa are fully vaccinated, wormed and had flea treatment in line with current expectations. They live with Mrs Wright, who will ensure their health is always a priority. There will always be a designated member of staff present during any interaction with pupils.

Please know that we are aware of those pupils with allergies and that a full risk assessment has been completed:

Florence and Wispa will not be staying in any classrooms where there are children who may have an adverse reaction. Their main place of residence will be in Mrs Wright and Mr Turner’s office area. Whilst moving around the school, both dogs will be kept on a short lead and will always be with an adult.

Children will be selected to work with Florence and Wispa for a variety of reasons. The number of sessions they have will also vary. If you would not like your child to work with the school dogs, please contact the school office to opt out.

Rules and expectations about having the dogs in school will be discussed with all children and we will highlight the many benefits and rewards.

Florence listening to a story.
Wispa enjoying a story.

Florence focusing on her phonics.