The benefits of therapy dogs have long been proven, but they are still rare in schools. Yet, they have a very positive impact on students' wellbeing.

A little living being has recently joined the team at Dame Allan's Secondary School in Newcastle, England. This is not just another student, but a furry friend named Heidi. This therapy dog comes to the school once a week and has already had many positive effects on the students as well as on the teachers.

Heidi reduces student anxiety and builds trust

Heidi is a Maltichon, that is a Maltese and Bichon Frise cross. She is 5 years old and trained as a therapy dog. Heidi accompanies her owner Kelly Lowery to school, where she works as a learning support teacher.

Kelly Lowery with her therapy dog Heidi. Source: Dame Allan's Schools

Heidi's mission is to reassure and comfort stressed students, especially during school exams. But she also helps to make the children more attentive and diligent, helps them to be well-behaved and responsible, and even builds their self-confidence. In general, her presence helps create a climate of trust, in which students feel comfortable to make progress.

"Children take great enjoyment from interacting with Heidi; she is such a calming influence and helps create a friendly, happy, and homely environment," Lowery says.

Heidi the therapy dog. Source: Dame Allan's Schools

School staff also benefit from her presence

In addition to the students, teachers also benefit from Heidi's presence. She contributes to the well-being of everyone at the school and is greatly appreciated.

Do you think dogs should be allowed to schools?

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