Pets as Therapy - Bertie.
Children benefit educationally and emotional, through contact with a suitable, calm therapy dog. Our hope is that by introducing 'Bertie' to our children at Springfield we can increase their understanding of responsibility and develop empathy and nurturing skills. Bertie encourages our children to practice their social use of language and as well as learning self-management and emotional literacy skills.
Bertie is a 3 year old Cocker Spaniel who has been assessed as a suitable and safe dog for interactions with children. He is well cared for and responsibly owned by Catherine, a volunteer who brings Bertie to visit us at Springfield every Tuesday.
Is there a risk in bringing a dog into a school environment?
We have thought carefully about school life with a dog and how, through careful management, there is a very low risk of harm.
We have produces a risk assessment (click here) which will be reviewed annually.
Click here to see our 'Bertie Rules.'
Visitor and new pupils will be informed of the dog presents on arrival at Springfield.
Not be allowed in school if he is unwell.
Be kept on a lean when moving around the school site.
Be under the full control and supervision of an adult at all times.
Be fully trained to a cage or mat.
Have had all injections prior to joining Springfield House School.
NOT have sole responsibility for, or be left alone with Bertie.
Meet Bertie in a group of no more than three children.
Be reminded of what is appropriate behaviour around Bertie every time they meet him.
Do their best to remain calm around Bertie.
Do not put your face near Bertie’s face.
Do not disturb Bertie when he is eating or sleeping.
Always approach Bertie standing up.
Do not feed the dog.
Learn about how dogs express their feelings through their body language. Growling or baring of teeth indicates that the dog feels threatened or angry. Flattened ears, tail lowered or between their legs, hiding behind their owner, whining or growling are signs that the dog is frightened or nervous.
If Bertie is displaying any of these signs, he should immediately be removed from that particular situation or environment.
Health and Safety Principles
Children will always wash their hands or use alcohol gel after handling the dog.
Any dog foul will be cleared up immediately and disposed of appropriately by the adult in charge of Bertie at the time. Children must never be allowed to do this.
Should a bite occur (even playfully) :
Parents will be contacted immediately.
The wound will be cleaned and covered with a sterile, non-sticky dressing.
The child/adult will be released for medical attention.
All SLT will be informed.
A full investigation will take place.
The suitability of having a dog will be reassessed by the Head teacher.