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It’s a dog’s life for school pooch

Published on 08/05/17

Staff and students at Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form have been ‘bow-wowed’ by the college’s newest pupil – a lurcher puppy called Lionel.

Although Lionel’s knowledge of maths and science is limited, he’s on a very special educational journey of his own, as he bones up on the skills to become a Pets As Therapy dog.

PAT dogs visit places like schools, hospitals, care homes, and hospices to spend time with people who will benefit from comfort, companionship, and cuddles with a furry friend.

Lionel has settled well into school life under the watchful eye of his personal tutor, director of science Rachel Jarrold.

Mrs Jarrold said: “Lionel's first week in school was a great success. The delight on students’ faces as Lionel trots through the college is just fab, and Lionel is developing the social skills needed to be a PAT dog. 

“He is already soothing the needs of our more anxious students before the busy exam period. One Year 12 student visits Lionel every day, and is noticeably calmer and more focused than before.”

Once Lionel graduates from his training, it’s hoped that Sir Isaac Newton students will accompany him on his visits outside the school.

“This is an excellent opportunity for our students to contribute to the wellbeing of others,” said Mrs Jarrold.

“It will also give a unique experience to potential medical students as well as those interested in psychology and clinical careers.”

Lionel will soon have a canine companion to study with, as the school plans to introduce a puppy pal for him later in the summer term.