Campbell House School introduced a therapy dog-in-training in Term 1, 2017. His name is Bear and he is a cavoodle which ensured he has a friendly and loving temperament, and does not shed, making him hypo-allergenic. He is still a puppy and the whole Campbell House Family is supporting him learn how to be an effective therapy dog by teaching him different tricks, giving him cuddles, and setting expectations for his behaviour. Bear has already made a lot of our students very happy, and provided emotional support and comfort when students were experiencing negative emotions.
A process of consultation was followed to introduce Bear to Campbell House. Staff and students were surveyed which resulted in overwhelmingly positive responses.
Research was conducted as to the potential benefits of introducing Bear to Campbell House. Therapy dogs give support to people on a range of different levels.
Physical benefits - interaction with a therapy dog has been shown to: reduce blood pressure; provide tactile stimulation; assist with pain management; provide motivation to engage in physical activity; and stimulate the senses.
Social benefits - interaction with a therapy dog has been shown to: provide a positive mutual topic for discussion; promote positive self-esteem and wellbeing, focus interaction with others; develop individual ability to trust; and form bonds with others.
Cognitive benefits - interaction with a therapy dog has been shown to: stimulate memory; improve problem solving; and provide opportunity to practice learning activities.
Emotional benefits - interaction with a therapy dog has been shown to: improve self-esteem; provide feelings of acceptance from others; lift mood; support emotional self-regulation; have a calming effect; and reduce anxiety and depression.
Environmental benefits - a dog in a school can improve the overall mood across the school, and has been shown to reduce the number of negative incidences.
You can find him on Instagram @chs_bear or https://imgrab.com/instagram/chs_bear/5073914118/