Teacher's pet Dooley helps Ravenshead pupils through 'difficult times'

Students have welcomed a new member of Ravenshead CofE Primary School with open arms – and he’s proving to be a furry-good idea.

Dooley, a 13-week-old Cockerpoo was suggested by year six student Euan Butler.

Head teacher, Helen Thomas with year six pupil Euan who suggested that Ravenshead Church of England Primary School get a dog.

Head teacher, Helen Thomas with year six pupil Euan who suggested that Ravenshead Church of England Primary School get a dog.

Euan wrote a letter to headteacher Helen Thomas, to make the case for a school dog.

He said: "It would get children more interested in nature and animals, it will make the children more responsible, and children would become more active as they could walk the dog with a teacher."

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Euan also thought a school dog would help calm children when they are upset, and help staff and students work as a team.

Dooley who has been recruited at Ravenshead Church of England Primary School to help with pupil wellbeing.

Dooley who has been recruited at Ravenshead Church of England Primary School to help with pupil wellbeing.

Ms Thomas said: "Euan was adamant a dog would be good for year six to help with stress in the run up to SATs, and I can already see a difference.

"For pupils with autism or aspergers, having Dooley around helps them through difficult times - he cheers them up and calms them down."

Charity Dogs Trust has worked with the school throughout the whole process, holding workshops and assemblies to prepare pupils for Dooley's arrival.

Ms Thomas also researched the idea beforehand, visiting Pixel the support dog at Hawthorne Primary School in Bestwood Village.

Head teacher, Helen Thomas with year six pupil Euan and Elliott and Leo.

Head teacher, Helen Thomas with year six pupil Euan and Elliott and Leo.

And it's not just the pupils that have welcomed Dooley - parents have been keen on the idea too.

"The vast majority of parents have been supportive, and are 100 per cent behind it - lots of parents think it's a good idea."

Adorable Dooley will start his training after the Easter break to become an emotional support dog, although he is already learning the ropes by Ms Thomas' side.

"He's so gentle - when the children are around he knows he has to be calm.

"He's been here since he was eight weeks old, so he will be used to it!"

A study by the University of British Columbia in Vancouver found that when students are allowed to play with and cuddle therapy dogs their stress levels plummet, and energy and happiness increase.