Buster The Rowans’ School Dog
Mrs Skinner brings her dog Buster into school as ‘The Rowans’ School Dog’. Buster has become an integral part of the school teaching team and highly valued by the school and the children.
Buster is a male Labradoodle, a cross between a Labrador and a Standard Poodle. Labradoodles are known for their intelligence, level-headedness, affection, sociability and cheerful disposition. Buster is loyal, friendly, eager to please, even-tempered, gentle and kind. This combination of traits makes Labradoodles outstanding service and therapy dogs.
Busters very presence has a calming effect on the children. Research studies in both Britain and America have concluded that having a dog in a school can have many positive benefits – these include help to calm children down, improve academic achievement, motivate those children who are often not that attentive, teach responsibility and encourage children to respect all life. Furthermore it has been shown that when pupils share the affection and care of a ‘school’ dog, a bond forms among the pupils and strengthens their team ethics.
We have certainly seen this at our school, pupils love to see Buster and are eager to walk and play with him even before school starts.
Buster is mainly found in the Elms, helping with interventions. He loves listening to pupils read and particularly loves being rewarded with treats!
In his reward dog role, children who have performed incredibly well during the week or those who have made progress in a certain subject, will be rewarded with spending time during lunch or break to interact with Buster. Walking, grooming, playing and training are some of the responsibilities the children are allowed to undertake with him in their reward dog role. It has been proved that working and playing with a dog improves children’s social skills and self-esteem. Buster can be seen on walks around the school grounds or playing in the school playground with pupils every break time. We have found our most challenging pupils respond well with Buster’s intervention.
Children who struggle with social interaction can find a reassuring friend in a canine therapy dog. Research also shows that children can be nervous and stressed when reading to others in a group. However, when a dog enters the group the child becomes less stressed and less self-conscious. This results in improving the literacy skills of children by reading to a pets as therapy.
There is a full risk assessment in place, but if you have any concerns regarding your child interacting with the dog, please telephone the school office and let us know.