Pupils at Treloar School and College in Holybourne had a furry welcome back for the new school term.

Stanley an eight-month-old Golden Retriever puppy has joined the staff as a therapy dog in training.

He works alongside his owner and trainer Judith Horwell, who is a specialist counsellor at Treloar’s.

The school and college offer a specialist learning environment for physically disabled students.

Whilst studying, students can access highly specialist care, support, education and assistive technologies, including therapy and counselling.  

Judith said: “Coming to counselling can be really daunting, and it can provoke anxiety, especially for school students.

“For the students who have a diverse range of physical disabilities and often very complex needs, Canine Assisted Therapy can help them to feel safe, secure, and relaxed.

“By observing a trusting relationship between the counsellor and the dog, students are likely to feel more able to build a foundation of trust with me.”

Stanley the new addition to the staff at Treloar School and College.
(Treloar School and College)

Students will learn how to teach Stanley tricks, hold the lead, take him for walk or just stroke him and what else they feel comfortable with.

However, at eight months-old Stanley is also learning and Judith hopes that he will become a fully on his PAWS THERAPY Certification Programme later this year.

Once certified Judith can begin one-to-one sessions, with Stanley’s assistance but until then the pair are getting to know the students and develop familiarity with them.

The Treloar’s Assistive Technology Department have supported the duo with some important prep work such as helping Stanley get used to equipment like the students’ wheelchairs.

Judith added: “Having a dog in the room in general can help make people feel relaxed, something the wider staff team at Treloar’s have definitely also experienced since Stanley’s arrival.

“His calming and unconditionally cheery presence has been welcomed by students and staff alike.”