In the summer of 2018 we started thinking about having a School Dog. We had heard about how dogs were used in other schools to help children with their learning and emotional wellbeing and as we are a staff of dog lovers, we thought this would be a great idea to bring to Boughton. The opportunity to trial the idea without long-term commitment came when Mrs Roberts was asked to look after Callie, a 7 year old Labrador, for six months. After gaining approval from the Governing Body and being assessed as suitable for working in school by a Pets as Therapy vet, Callie started her new job in July 2018, and was an instant hit with staff, pupils and parents. Callie is a very calm dog and was particularly good at helping children who felt anxious about coming into school in the mornings. She was also good at comforting children when they felt upset or angry and she enjoyed her walks around the playground as children learnt how to walk her on a lead.
Sadly, the time came for Callie to go back home and everyone agreed that Boughton needed another School Dog. Mrs Roberts knew that a Labrador/ Retriever cross would be a good choice as they are usually calm, friendly and easy to train, so when the opportunity came to buy a Labrador/ Flat-Coated Retriever cross puppy from a local breeder, it was too good to miss. The puppy was born in September 2018 and joined the Roberts family just before Christmas 2018. She was named Lyra after the heroine of Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” books.
Lyra had her first visit to school in January 2019 and is only in school one day per week as she is still so young. She is learning to welcome the children when they arrive in the mornings and visits the playground at breaktime and lunchtime, where she enjoys lots of strokes and cuddles. Lyra likes to get stuck into paperwork when Mrs Roberts’ back is turned, but she is learning to behave herself by settling down chewing a Kong when she is not on duty.