Our School Dog
In December 2019, we were thrilled to welcome a new and very special member to our St Chad's school family: Rosie Posie, our miniature school ‘sausage’ dog.
For a number of years, the Headteacher (Ms. Leach) looked into the possibility of having a school dog. In her previous school in Birmingham, Ms. Leach was very fortunate to work in a setting where a dog played a key role in supporting children with their emotional needs (in the form of nurture) and in their reading. The impact that the dog had to the children’s well-being and learning was noticeable.
The Senior Leadership team became aware of a number of schools across Derby City and Derbyshire who have successful introduced a school dog. After visiting some of these schools and speaking to staff, Ms. Leach was blown away by the positive impact that their dogs had had on the children and whole school community in their settings.
The rationale behind Ms. Leach's decision for St Chad’s to have a school dog, put forward to governors, staff and the academy, was as follows:
For the school to have a pet that was able to live as naturally as conditions would allow.
For the animal to be properly cared for outside of the school day.
To have a pet that the children could interact with and also be of benefit to the children’s social and emotional development.
To support the school’s Christian values of love, friendship, compassion and respect, providing opportunities for the children to ‘live out’ these values in the context of caring for a pet.
To support the school’s ongoing commitment to creating a calming, loving and family-orientated environment.
What are the benefits of having a school dog?
Numerous research studies have shown the benefits of dogs in schools. Evidence indicates that benefits include:
Cognitive – companionship with a dog stimulates memory, problem-solving and game-playing
Social – a dog provides a positive mutual topic for discussion, encourages responsibility, wellbeing and focused interaction with others
Emotional – 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 – interaction with a furry friend reduces blood pressure, provides tactile stimulation, assists with pain management, gives motivation to move, walk and stimulates the senses
Environmental – a dog in a school increases the sense of a family environment, with all of the above benefits continuing long after the school day is over.
Reading – reading to dogs has been proven to help children develop literacy skills and build confidence, through both the calming effect the dog’s presence has on children as well as the fact that a dog will listen to children read without being judgemental or critical. This comforting environment helps to nurture children’s enthusiasm for reading and provides them with the confidence to read aloud.
In December 2019, governors upheld the decision to introduce a school dog to our St Chad’s family.
Background information about our school dog
Our school dog is called Rosie Posie (Rosie for short). She is a female miniature dachshund (commonly referred to as a ‘sausage dog’). She is half smooth and half wired. Dachshunds are a friendly and loyal breed, known for being intelligent, and make a popular family pet. The miniature dachshund breed is small in size (and therefore less threatening towards people who may be fearful of dogs) and can be easily handled by children.
Rosie belongs to Ms. Leach and lives with her and her daughter, but accompanies Ms. Leach to school most days. When in school, Rosie has access to a dog crate in Ms. Leach's office where she can relax during the day. Ms. Leach's office has been fitted with a stair gate so that Rosie is safe and can’t escape. When walking through school, Rosie is supervised at all times and kept on a lead.
Prior to having Rosie in school, a thorough risk assessment was completed which was quality assured by the school's Health and Safety Chartered Practitioner through DDAT.
Rosie began her transition to our school at 12 weeks of age. At present, she is working hard to follow our school's 'LOVE Promise'. Rosie is already enjoying supervised daily walks on the field with the children. She welcomes our families to school on the gate most mornings, visits classes most days and has started to sit in during our whole school Collective Worships. Rosie especially loves welcoming children to the Golden Book (and having a 'Golden Selfie' with the boys and girls!). Recently, Rosie has helped to launch our 'Snuggle and Read' campaign and is undertaking her training with Ms. Leach so that she can hear children read. Rosie is already proving herself to be a much loved family pet and school pet.