Why this North Coast school needed a therapy dog

BINDI the cavoodle puppy may be cute and cuddly but there's an important reason why she is Pottsville Beach Public School's new therapy dog.

The 10-week-old puppy started her role at the school this week and is already proving she is the top dog for the job.

Pottsville Beach Public School principal Brad Lyne said Bindi had already improved engagement with students who had increased anxiety behaviours.

 

Pottsville Beach Public School principal Brad Lyne with 10-week-old therapy dog Bindi. Picture: JODIE CALLCOTT.
Pottsville Beach Public School principal Brad Lyne with 10-week-old therapy dog Bindi. Picture: JODIE CALLCOTT.

"She did a great job yesterday with someone who was unsure about coming into school and having her there I was able to engage the student very quickly and resolve the problem and they were fine for the rest of the day," Mr Lyne said.

 

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Mr Lyne said Bindi's journey to the school began with a meeting at the start of the year to discuss the benefits of a therapy dog but once the coronavirus pandemic intensified, the process was sped up.

"It was apparent we needed something to lift the spirits of everybody," he said.

 

Pottsville Beach Public School's 10-week-old therapy dog Bindi having a nap after a busy day. Picture: SUPPLIED.
Pottsville Beach Public School's 10-week-old therapy dog Bindi having a nap after a busy day. Picture: SUPPLIED.

"We started introducing her to classrooms yesterday and just to see the kids' faces light up and even the amount of staff who came into the office to say hello and have a pat and to see their faces beaming as well.

"We've had nothing but positive feedback from the community about having her in the school."

 

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He said securing Bindi was a simple consultancy process and encouraged other schools to get their own therapy dog.

"We went through our risk assessment process and we talked to our WHS team and our legal team.

"It was more just a consultancy process to see if we're willing to have her then what it would look like once she's here.

"The research does say it has an impact on increasing academic results as well, even though that's not the purpose for having her, but the impact of her has that knock-on effect."