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Furry support gets wag of approval

Friday, 26th March, 2021

By Emily Ferguson

This week Broken Hill High School welcomed two new additions to their support and welfare team.

The two Groodle puppies, Cooper and Banjo, are undergoing training to be sure they will be up to the task of supporting students.

Broken Hill High School Principal, Ross Mackay said they have been in the process of researching and organising these support dogs for over a year now.

“Twelve months ago we worked with Di Toynton, she identified that there was an increasing number of students with welfare mental health concerns and she did some research on the benefits of having some pups in the school.

“So we sort of continued on with her work after she left and Shelby Smith has contin- ued to do some research on the benefits of dogs and therapy dogs in schools.

Both dogs are only allowed to work three days a week. Each will cover two days on their own with one day a week where they’ll both be working together.

“It’s very exciting, it’s been a long drawn

out process with a fair bit of research in making sure the policies and things were followed,” Mr Mackay said.

The two Golden Retriever Poodle-cross puppies are just nine weeks old and will still need their final vaccinations in the coming weeks.

“Then they’ll undergo initial puppy train- ing so they’ll be able to come into the school and interact with the kids a little bit more from about six months onwards.”

Although the school haven’t quite sorted out the finer details of exactly how students will be able to access the dogs, there is sufficient research that reflects that having

animals in schools can improve educational outcomes.

“It’s been very beneficial in supporting reading programs so we’ll look to get them up in the library and support reading as well.”

Denkally Golden Retrievers, Groodle’s and Spoodle’s is where the school sourced the puppies and Mr Mackay said they had been a big help.

“I’m really happy to actually see the dogs on the ground. The kids can see the benefit of it and you can see how responsive they are to them.

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