Meet Jimmy, our Dog Mentor!
Hi! My name is Jimmy and I am the Dog Mentor here at Oakfield. When I'm not working in school, I live with Mr. and Mrs. Farrell who are my 'dogparents.' I was born on a farm in April 2022 and I think I'm a Jack Russell Terrier, but nobody is too sure!
In May 2023, I successfully completed my Dog Mentor Programme assessment. Jenny, the assessor, said I am 'extremely intelligent' and that I will 'make a great school dog.' Mr. Farrell and Mrs. Garside have trained to be my handlers in school. Wherever I go, they go and we work together as a team.
There are lots of benefits to having a dog in school. Research has shown that potential benefits include:
- Cognitive development – companionship with a dog stimulates memory, problem-solving, game-playing and can improve reading skills.
- Emotional development – a school dog improves self-esteem, acceptance from others and lifts mood, often provoking laughter and fun. Dogs can also teach compassion and respect for other living things as well as relieving anxiety.
- Physical development – interaction with a pet reduces blood pressure, provides tactile stimulation, assists with pain management, gives motivation to move, walk and stimulates the senses.
- Environmental benefits – a dog in a school contributes towards the creation of home style environment, with all of the above benefits continuing long after the school day is over.
- Social benefits – a dog provides a positive mutual topic for discussion, encourages responsibility, wellbeing, developing social skills and focused interaction with others.
When I am working in school, I do lots of different and exciting things! Sometimes I work in class alongside the children and at other times, I work with small groups or individual children. My days are very busy and varied - I do stop for a little sleep sometimes!