A - Z Parent Guide
Our BNPS Therapy Dog
What are Animal Assisted Interventions?
Animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) are goal-oriented and structured interventions that intentionally incorporate animals in health, education, and human service for the purpose of therapeutic gains and improved health and wellness.
A therapy dog falls under the umbrella of Animal-assisted interventions. Any working Animal-assisted intervention dog is therefore trained and assessed for a specific role.
What is a Therapy Dog?
Trained Therapy Dogs form part of our wellbeing and engagement approach at BNPS. In 2024, we have one qualified therapy dog, Wally in our school. In previous years, we had Frankie, Archie and Sid as Therapy Dogs, whom together with their handlers, formed a valued part of our school community.
Research shows that therapy dog programs provide significant benefits for students as the dogs are trained to use their social instincts and learned social skills to provide health, social-emotional and cognitive benefits. Being in contact with a therapy dog calms children, reducing feelings of anxiety and stress and promoting a sense of belonging in school. Our BNPS Therapy Dog will also provide social-emotional support to staff and the wider school community, when and where appropriate.
Wally (and his handler Georgie Tilley) has been trained by K9 Support and Lead the Way Institute to become Therapy Dog.
Wally is a Groodle (Golden Retriever x Poodle).
A therapy dog is different to a service dog, facility dog or visiting dog, however these dogs are also trained and assessed for AAI. Wally passed an intensive assessment and has proven his natural ability to refocus students who may be feeling upset for a variety of reasons. Wally will be working in Year 6 with his certified handler. Wally will also work more broadly around the school community.
Frequently Asked Questions
We understand that there may be some families who do not want Wally to work directly with their child, therefore, there is the ability to opt out of this opportunity.