Leonard Stanley School has a Pets As Therapy Team!
What’s that you may ask?
Pets as Therapy is a Charitable Organisation which is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year. The aim of the Charity is to bring companionship and comfort to patients/residents in hospitals and hospices, nursing homes, staff in emergency response teams, school and other establishments by means of visits from volunteers and their registered temperament-tested pets.
Since 1983, 26.000 dogs have been registered with Pets as Therapy or PAT for short. Every animal has to pass an assessment test on health, temperament, suitability and stability before they join their owner as a proud ‘PAT Team’.
Leonard Stanley School has a PAT ‘Read2Dogs’ scheme.
Launched in 2010, Read2Dogs is a scheme developed to help children gain confidence in reading. Reading to an adult or classmates can be daunting and make children nervous and stressed, however reading to a non-judgemental dog helps to make a child less self-conscious, motivates speech, enhances self-esteem, and helps the child relax while bringing comfort, we also hope our pets bring fun too!
The PAT team at Leonard Stanley is Judith with Lewis Hamilton F1 (fluffy one). We have been coming into school weekly since November 2022. Lewis is a rescue Bichon Frise, cross West Highland Terrier, he is five years old and loves children.
“When I arrive at school in the car, Lewis is screaming with excitement and pulls me on his lead to the school entrance! We see 6 children individually in a session of no more than 2 hours, as PAT dogs are only allowed to work for 2 hours a day.
In a session a child sits between myself and Lewis (on a blanket) and reads to him from their current school book, they are next to him and often stroking him. I have noticed that Lewis cuddles up to the child and usually puts his head on the child’s lap, he instinctively knows how to bring comfort and reassurance as many animal owners will testify.
Coming to school is the highlight of our week, listening to the children read and chatting to the staff, so I thank Leonard Stanley School, Mr Green, Ms Howard and all the staff for inviting a PAT, Pets as Therapy Team into school. After a visit! One happy tired dog.”
A message from the Head Teacher:
The children absolutely love working with Judith and her dog Lewis. He is a lovely animal with a placid and happy nature. As the children read to Judith and stroke Lewis, you can see the soothing effect that it has on them and how much it impacts positively on their mental wellbeing. We are so glad that they are part of our school family.