For those of you that have not had the pleasure of meeting the Infiniti Schools dog, please let me introduce you to Chewie. Chewie is now 1 years old and every day for him is a school day. He is learning new things and having wonderful adventures as he starts his time as the school dog.
Chewie is very popular with students and staff and has very quickly adapted to school life. Every morning he bounces into the car, knowing he has a fun filled day in store for him and if he plays his cards right, maybe a few biscuits in the staff room. He excitedly waits for the school doors to open where he meets and greets the students with a very happy wagging tail. The students have quickly got to know that Chewie just loves the ball being thrown for him in the school hall and he races up and down the length of it playing with them for as long as they will let him.
In the classroom Chewie has been a real hit. Whilst the students in English have been doing some descriptive writing, Chewie has been calmly strutting around from one student to another and often falling asleep at their feet, whilst they get on with their work and put pen to paper.
Chewie's role within school will be varied. Research has shown that having a dog in the classroom has many positive benefits. These include, helping to calm students down, improve academic achievement, motivate those students who are often not that attentive, teach responsibility and encourage students to respect all life. Dogs give unconditional acceptance, as they are non-judgemental. Chewie will provide confidence to students when they have their reading time with him. He is an amazing listener, providing the students with a sense of comfort and love. Research has shown that students who read to a school dog show an increase in reading levels and word recognition.
Initially, Chewie has spent a proportion of his time both in class and down time in the staff room, getting slowly eased into school life. He is learning, where he can go, when he can play, what he can chew (and what he can't) and when he needs to be calm and quiet. This will be a process which will last for months with ongoing specialised training in and out of school. Chewie has thoroughly enjoyed his first term at school and looks forward to meeting and greeting many more students in the future.