Aberdeen school gets its own puppy to help pupils

Arnie with pupil Daniel Martins.

Pupils at a school were greeted by an excitable new classmate after the holidays – an eight-month-old puppy.

King Charles spaniel Arnie is the newest edition to Torry Academy’s school roll and will be based at the support for learning department.

The pup will work with pupils to help improve their health and wellbeing and ease stress and anxiety.

The school has developed a new programme PAWS – the pupils’ attainment and wellbeing strategy – to help its pupils.

Arnie is believed to be the first “school dog” in Aberdeen.

Karen Makepeace, principal teacher for support learning, had the idea of bringing a dog into the school.

She said: “There has been a lot of research that has shown there are many benefits for children, young people and adults who come into contact with dogs.

“They help with literacy and the presence of a dog can have quite a calming affect.

“We will be teaching pupils how to care for a dog and it’ll help them care for themselves – improving their health and wellbeing.

“There will be a little dog-walking programme for him so pupils can take him out on walks.

“We hope he’ll be able to help during exams as well.

“A lot of teachers are enthusiastic to get him into their classroom.”

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And Arnie’s first day at school was a success.

Karen said: “It has been amazing. There has been a really positive response.

“Hopefully he will become a fairly normal part of our day.”

Head teacher Jennifer Cranna is delighted to welcome Arnie to the school.

She added: “I think he is going to be beneficial for all of our pupils and staff.”

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