At Dame Allan High School in Newcastle, a special staff member comes in every week to comfort stressed students, especially around exams. Heidi, a 5-year-old female Maltichon (Maltese/Bichon Frise mix), was specially trained for the mission.
His presence is already having a positive impact on college students. Kelly Lowry, Heidi’s lover and mentor, understands this well. She explains that thanks to the dog, we have seen a marked improvement in behavior, attendance and self-confidence among students.
She adds that Heidi’s company reduces their stress levels and improves their communication, helping them learn life skills like empathy and responsibility. “Kids love talking to Heidi,” says her owner. It has a calming effect and helps create a friendly, happy and warm atmosphere.”
Heidi’s help is especially valuable during the pre-exam period, when students are most worried about anxiety. She confirmed this by supporting students taking the white GCSE (general certificate of secondary education).
According to Will Scott, Principal of the Dame Allan School, «Therapy dogs are undeniably a huge benefit to students and staff, and Heidi is already an invaluable member of the Snug team.» Snug is the nickname given to the structure dedicated to academic well-being at this institution.