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Colin - Our School Dog

Colin is our school dog. He is also a much loved family pet. Colin is a Cavapoo which is a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Miniature Poodle. Colin is 3 years old and his birthday is 21st April.

Colin will be in school on some days and will come in for one day at first to make sure he settles in well and will, hopefully, increase his time in school gradually.

Colin is a hypoallergenic breed. Hypoallergenic dogs shed less hair and don’t drool. Allergy sufferers are allergic to the protein found in the saliva and urine of the dog and as they groom themselves the protein spreads to their skin and coat. So the shed hair exposes people to the protein. Although no dog can be 100% non-allergenic, Colin is less likely to cause problems to allergy sufferers. He is regularly groomed.

Temperament. Colin is very playful – tennis balls are his favourite. He is affectionate and loves a cuddle. He is good-natured and sociable, friendly and loyal. Colin is very sweet-natured, intelligent and sensitive. He can sometimes bark but usually when he is excited and never to be aggressive. When excited he will also wag his tail and often wiggle his bum.

In School. Colin will sometimes visit classrooms and will probably enjoy listening to some children read. He likes a calm atmosphere and is very helpful for teaching children how to get calm also.

Colin's Passport

Benefits to having a school dog

There are many benefits to having a school dog, like:

  • A calming effect on pupils
  • Improved behaviour and concentration
  • Reduced stress and improved self-esteem
  • Encouraging expression and participation in children
  • Fostering a sense of responsibility
  • Motivating pupils to think and to learn, as most children have a high level of natural interest in, enthusiasm for, and enjoyment of animals
  • Encouraging respect and improving pupils’ relationships with each other, parents and teachers
  • Teaching children to nurture and respect life
  • Helping work with vulnerable children
  • Helping children build confidence in reading

Please see this article for more information:

Article by The Guardian

How will we look after Colin in school?

We are aware that some parents, teachers and children may be unsure around dogs and we looking into booking a workshop with the Dogs Trust for the children so that all members of our community are aware of what to do and, more importantly, what not to do around a dog.

With parental permission, over time, children who react fearfully to dogs will be supported in approaching, handling and gaining confidence in managing their fear. While the dog’s main place of residence will be in Debbie’s office, which is secure and separate from classrooms, children will be able to interact with the dog under strict supervision at certain times of the week as long as parental permission has been given. Please be reassured that we will do everything we can to reassure children who are fearful and that under no circumstances will they be forced to meet with Colin.

Whilst moving around school Colin will be kept on a short lead and will always be with an adult. We believe a Cavapoo is a fantastic breed of dog for a school. Cavapoos have fantastic temperaments and we believe the children will benefit greatly from having this new member of staff in school!

Frequently asked questions

Who is the legal owner of the dog?

The legal owner of the dog is Debbie Harris who cares for the dog out of school hours and will bear the cost associated with it. The school will not pay for any additional costs that may incur as a result of the dog being in school (for example, a high level of training).

Is the dog from a reputable breeder?

Yes. We have researched breeders and chosen a reputable breeder.

Will Colin be a distraction?

Colin will be kept in Debbie's room as his base. Debbie's room is separate from classrooms/playgrounds to ensure he only comes into contact with children who are comfortable to be around him. Colin will always be supervised by a member of staff, mainly Debbie. We will be careful to ensure that time spent with the school dog is shared among the children as fairly as possible. We will also ensure that children who have any allergies will be kept separated from Colin.

Has a risk assessment be made?

Yes. We have carefully considered having a dog in school and sought advice from many sources, including other schools that have successfully welcomed a dog within their community. The risk assessment can be found on this page.

Who is responsible for training?

Debbie Harris, the legal owner of Colin, will be responsible for his training.

How will Colin be toileted to ensure hygiene for all?

In the interest of health and hygiene, our school dog will be toileted off site. There will therefore be no chance of the children coming into contact with faeces. Our policy of no dogs in the playground is still applicable as we are unable to put effective control measures in place that guarantee temperament and safety when children come into unsupervised contact with unknown dogs.

Risk Assessment