Doodles the Schnoodle
At Highfurlong we wanted to find a way to support our students with their lessons in an innovative and creative way. We asked the young people in Key Stage 5 to research animals we could have as a pet in school and to choose the most suitable one. They used their IT skills and produced a Pet Project which resulted in us purchasing a school dog.
Doodles is a Schnoodle and is hypoallergenic and does not shed his hairs. He has been in school since he was 11 weeks old and the children have watched him grow and have helped to train him. When he is in school he wears a school uniform just like our children and young people. He also has wet weather gear for welcoming the children into school during cold or rainy weather.
Doodles is owned by and lives with Mrs Drabble, our Assistant Head and he visits school daily to be with the children. When he is in school he has a bed, treats and water in Mrs Drabble’s office and he also has a bed in the headteacher’s office. He has a risk assessment which states that he will be under the strict supervision of a responsible adult at all times. He will be encouraged to be sensible and calm in school especially when in the company of the children. Doodles is fully insured and we have third party liability insurance for him alongside a pet care plan.
Doodles follows a visual timetable just like the children and this is regularly updated as Doodles progresses and works with the children.
Doodles has completed an accredited Animal Assisted Therapy Training Course and is now able to listen to the children read in a calm, non judgemental way. He also joins other core lessons and our teachers plan opportunities for Doodles to be involved in the learning.
Doodles has a large remit in school. He provides sensory sessions for children who need a break from their lessons. He provides a calming influence for those who need a little quiet time away from their peers. He provides opportunities for PSHE and confidence building as children are encouraged to tell him their secrets and their hopes and fears. Doodles always listens attentively. He is on hand to encourage children to walk as they are allowed to exercise him in the school corridors.
At Highfurlong we encourage the children and young people to go outside in the fresh air as often as possible. Doodles has provided the perfect motivation for this. He is always willing to run around with the children and they are developing excellent ball throwing skills and turn taking.
Doodles is also good for staff well being He is always happy to be cuddled as and when required and can often be found at the beginning or end of the day sitting on the knee of a staff member.
If you would like to know more about Doodles’ role in school you can read all about him in this book commissioned by Jessica Kingsley Publishers and featuring some of our children and young people.