Ruby The Therapy Dog

Hello, my name is Ruby and I work at Tor View School. I am a Cockerpoo which means my mum is a Cocker Spaniel and my Dad is a Poodle.

When I am not at work I live with Ms Holdsworth. I love working at Tor View and helping all the pupils and staff to grow, learn and achieve.

What are the benefits of having a school dog?

Research has shown that therapy dogs in school settings can facilitate well-being and learning outcomes and can bring joy as well as therapeutic benefits to the whole school community including:

  • Social benefits. A therapy dog promotes greater self-esteem and can provide a positive mutual topic for discussion and encourages responsibility, wellbeing and a focused interaction with others.
  • Cognitive benefits. It has been empirically proven that therapy dogs stimulate memory and problem-solving skills.
  • Emotional and mental health benefits. A school dog can help improve self-esteem and lift moods. Dogs can also teach compassion and invoke a sense of respect for living things as well as relieving anxiety.
  • Physical. Interacting with a dog in school provides tactile stimulation, gives motivation to walk and move and stimulates the senses, it can even help reduce blood pressure and assist with pain management.
  • Environment. A dog in school can promote a sense of family environment and students can take great enjoyment from interaction with a dog with all the above benefits continuing long after the school day is over.

Pupils reading to dogs can help to improve reading ability, develop literacy skills and boost confidence through the calming, non-judgemental effect the dog’s presence can have. Pupil’s motivation and enjoyment of reading aloud can also improve even when the dog is not present.

How do we know Ruby Is ready to work in school?

Ruby has undergone rigorous training before she could become a therapy dog for our school. Ruby has been assessed by a qualified trainer and Ruby certificate is proudly displayed in school and on our website. Ruby will have her own timetable and will take rest breaks throughout the day. While being escorted around the school Ruby will remain on a lead at all times. A risk assessment and policy will be in place for Ruby which will be reviewed regularly.

My child is scared of dogs or has allergies

Some children may have a fear of dogs or indeed other animals. Ruby will only have contact with any of our students if parents/carers have given written permission for them to do so.  Research shows that through proper care and guidance, children can learn to overcome their fear and as a parent/carer you can change your permissions at any time. Information regarding allergies can be provided on the consent form. Students will be encouraged to wash their hands after working with Ruby.

The School has a ‘No Dog Policy’ – except for Guide/Assistant Dogs

Schools must adhere to the Health and Safety at Work Act and as such have to assess the risks to our pupils and staff and apply the controls to mitigate those risks. Unfortunately, the school is unable to assess the risk of animals brought onto the site (other than those pre-arranged for educational purposes) and therefore unable to perform its duty of care to provide a safe environment. Therefore, dogs and or other animals are not permitted on the premises at any time.   The presence of our therapy dog on site has been risk assessed and will be monitored closely in order to keep everyone safe.

 

Ruby's Self-isolation Blog

Ruby is Tor View School’s Therapy Dog. She is still training, and she was going to have her bronze assessment in school at the end of March but now like everyone else she can’t sit her exams and she has to stay at home so she can Socially Distance. Ruby loves to go to school so she is not happy about being at home all the time. Ruby is a teenager now, so she is bored lots of the time. This is what Ruby’s life is like now …

Day 1

Feeling so bored. The humans are at home which is usually good but they are on their laptops so no one is playing with me. All you here is tap, tap, tappity, tap.

No dogs are going out for walks, so there is nothing to bark about. I can’t find any children anywhere – where they have all gone?

I haven’t had any treats for at least 5 minutes. Hang on someone just said ‘TREATS’ – Yay, my life is great again!! So, I might just have a little sleep and dream of … TREATS.

Day 2

Bored, bored. Humans are talking to screens very loudly – no one has any time for me.

My only friend is this sausage dog and he is bored too! I have given his ears a good chew to pass the time – I think he likes that. He isn’t very communicative – the long silent type – I guess!

I went out in the garden today – no dogs outside at all. Life is very dull – I miss the children at Tor View School.

Hang on, one of my humans is taking me out for a walk – lots to sniff outside. Yippee, my life is great again. So, I might just have a little sleep and dream of … SMELLS.

Day 3

Bored, bored, bored, but it is a new day, so I’ll try a new sleeping position. I have hidden my paws – can you find them?

I tried to play ‘TIG’ with the cat– she didn’t want to play. When I think about it she never wants to play. Cats are very strange creatures, they look like dogs, but they just aren’t dogs. I mean WHO doesn’t like a good game of ‘TIG’? So, I might just have a little sleep and dream of … playing ‘TIG’.

Day 4

Bored, bored, bored, bored – well not so bored really just tired of same old dog food. I didn’t eat any breakfast because it was too boring so one of my humans added some milk.

I love milk. Milk is GREAT. I love dog food with MILK. When you put milk in it isn’t like dog food anymore it is like …. Dog food with MILK! Dog food with MILK is just about as good as it gets. I could eat Dog food with MILK all day long (and all night too). So, I might just have a little sleep and dream of … Dog food with MILK.

Day 5

Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored – but it has been a good day today. I got to have 3 WALKS because all my humans love me lots and they all wanted to go out and take me for a walk. I went out in the morning, that was WALK 1, I walked to the farm to bark at the sheep and horses.

At lunchtime, that was WALK 2, I walked to the river and had a swim.

In the evening, that was WALK 3, I walked up the hill and then my lead came off and I ran and ran and ran. Then I heard ‘TREATS’ so I ran back to my human and had a handful of TREATS. Amazingly, whilst I was eating my TREATS my lead went back on and then I walked home.

Now I need a sit down on my bean bag to give my paws a rest. So, I might just have a little sleep and dream of … SHEEP.

Day 6

Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored – but I went into the garden today and I helped my humans out lots. I did 3 GREAT things to help the humans:

1. I dug a big hole, the humans love digging so I am sure they’ll love my hole
2. I watered the plants, I drank lots of water so I could water the plants really well
3. I made pretty pictures. My paws were nice and wet and brown and sticky and they made pretty patterns on the patio and on the windows in the door.

Now I am really, really tired! So, I might just have a little sleep and dream of … GARDENING.

Day 7

Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored – but I have been helping with the COOKING today. The humans love it when I help them to COOK. I am very, very helpful. I help by lying on the floor by their human feet.

It is difficult for humans to stand up because they only have two paws (they call them feet – but they look like paws to me). When things fall off the kitchen worktop I help the humans by picking them up and eating them as quickly as possible. I am very good at COOKING. One day I ate a whole ginger root because it had rolled onto the floor. I love to COOK so I think I might become chef when I grow up.

Now I really need a rest! So, I might just have a little sleep and dream of … COOKING.

Day 8

Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored – well not really that bored. In fact, I had a great day today. I went on a big long walk and I jumped in a big muddy bog. It was great. I was really, really, muddy. My legs were muddy, my tummy was muddy and even my head was muddy. My humans looked far too dry so I shook myself really hard and showered my humans in sloppy mud – it was GREAT! They were so happy they jumped up and down.

When I got home I had a lovely warm BATH. Well, actually I had a cold shower outside and then I had a lovely warm BATH. I love BATHS. BATHS are great. After my BATH I had to have my fur dried. I do not like fur driers. I struggled to get away and hide.

I hope the children at Tor View are having lots of BATHS. BATHS are great!

Now I am all fluffy and dry and I am really, really tired. So, I might just have a little sleep and dream of … BATHS.

Day 9

Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored. Today wasn’t too boring because I found all of my BALLS. I love to play BALL but the problem is they run away from you. Some BALLS hide under the sofa for weeks and then they suddenly reappear. Usually this happens after the hoover has been out. I don’t like the hoover. It is very noisy and it chases you around the house.

I played BALL in the garden and my favourite BALL is ‘Squeaky Christmas Pudding BALL’. My Grandoggy bought it for me for Christmas. Everyone loves ‘Squeaky Christmas Pudding BALL’ because it is the noisiest toy I own. But sometimes, when I am not looking, ‘Squeaky Christmas Pudding BALL’ disappears, especially when we are watching TV. I do miss it when ‘Squeaky Christmas Pudding BALL’ goes missing because the house is just too quiet.

When I go back to school, I am going to play BALL with the children at Tor View.

Anyway I played ball so much today that now I am really tired. So, I might just have a little sleep and dream of … my favourite BALL – Can you guess which one it will be?

Day 10

Day 11 Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored.

Today was so sunny. I stayed in the garden all day long. The humans took their fur off. My fur doesn’t seem to come off, so I lay down in the shade.

The humans sat and drank fizzy drinks with ICE CUBES. I love ICE CUBES. I could chase an ICE CUBE for hours. Well, not exactly hours because the thing about ICE CUBES is when you bite them and chase them they get wetter and smaller and then they disappear. Where do they go? Does anyone know?

I think I will ask the children at Tor View to explain where ICE CUBES go. Children learn lots of important things at school.

Because I was outside, I had a sleep on the sofa in the garden. In fact, I am a bit sleepy now, so I might just have a little sleep and dream of … ICE CUBES.

Day 12

Day 12 Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored.

I am a ‘downstairs doggy’. I don’t really understand what this means but if I go upstairs the humans shout ‘Ruby downstairs’ and if I sit on the mat at the bottom of the stairs they say ‘Good girl’ and I get TREATS. So, I usually stay on the mat because, just in case you didn’t know, I really like TREATS.

Today I thought I’d like to try being an ‘upstairs and downstairs doggy’ because the cat, the one who never likes to PLAY, seem to be an ‘upstairs and downstairs cat’.

So, I ran upstairs very quickly and jumped in bed with one of the humans. The type of human who is still ion bed at 1pm, I think they are called teenagers? He loved me licking his face and he couldn’t wait to get up and come downstairs. He was so excited he carried me down to the kitchen. Then, I think he got a bit confused because he disappeared before giving me a TREAT and when I went to tell him the door was closed?

But it didn’t matter because Mummy human thought something was very funny and I got some TREATS anyway.

I hope the children at Tor View are getting up early and doing Jo Wicks to keep fit!

Keeping fit can make you very tired, so I might just have a little sleep and dream of more … TREATS.

Day 13

Day 13 Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored.

I have just invented a brand new GAME. It is very exciting! It is a bit like one of my other favourite GAMES, ‘Grab a sock’. ‘Grab a sock’ is where you run over to a pile of washing (clean or dirty washing it doesn’t matter) and grab a sock to chew.

The new GAME is called ‘Grab a SLPPER’ and it can be played inside and outside. The rules are very easy, you just have to grab a SLIPPER and run off with it all around the house and the garden. Well, downstairs in the house if you are a ‘downstairs doggy’ like me.

I haven’t got a scoring system sorted yet but I think you should get extra points if someone had the SLIPPER on their foot when you grabbed it.

I wonder if the children at Tor View have invented any new games to play while they are off school? I do miss playing with the children.

And I have just thought of another new GAME. This one is called ‘Grab a shoe’. I bet no one knows how to play this game??

Thinking up new games is really tiring, so I might just have a little sleep and dream of … GRABBING SLIPPERS.

Day 14

Day 14 Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored.

Today I have had lots of CUDDLES. I CUDDLED all my humans. I CUDDLED all my toys – sausage dog loves a cuddle and so do the sloth twins. My sloth twins don’t have many arms and legs because I chewed them but they don’t mind. Just look how smiley they are!

I tried to CUDDLE the cat too but she doesn’t like CUDDLES. She hissed and spat at me and she looked like she might chew my arms and legs (I don’t think I would like that!) So, I think I will stick to human and soft toy CUDDLES.

I am looking forward to CUDDLING the children at Tor View.

Oh dear, all that cuddling has made me feel really tired, so I might just have a little sleep and dream of … CUDDLES.

 

Therapy Dog Policy & Risk Assessment