“I think we’re the luckiest Year 4’s in the world!” was the official word from the classroom since Sunny the school dog arrived at Rockhampton Girls Grammar School. Having passed her final temperament check, she has been a regular visitor. Some of her duties might include morning ball throwing down on the oval before school, roaming the eating areas and enjoying the endless pats from staff and students and spending time inside with reading groups, during learning or sleeping soundly on the floor.
The overwhelming evidence regarding the use of animals in education is well documented, but the mental health and wellbeing benefits we have all seen flow from her presence, are obvious. It might be a boarder missing their dog who just wants to come and have a pat, it might be an anxious new girl who needs that extra encouragement to head out into the playground, it might be a teacher who just wants to stick their head in and say hello or it might be the way Sunny seems to wag that little tail with the slightest amount of encouragement making everyone feel valued and loved. However, don’t take my word for it.
This is what some of the students think of Sunny and her contribution to the school:
“When Mrs Hemson mentioned she was going to bring her dog Sunny in, I just thought it was a myth but ever since then everyone’s happier.” Pippa
“It’s always fun having Sunny. She seems so happy when she is in the classroom and when people are worried, they can sit with her and when they do, they get calmer.” Shiraleise
“Every day Sunny comes down to throw the ball and it brings joy to everyone’s faces. It’s amazing to have her in our classroom.” Belle
“I love her cute piggy tail and the way she likes to hang around my desk for a gentle pat.” Charlie
“Sunny’s a great dog to have because she always comes over to say hello and she is friendly to everyone inside and outside the classroom.” Paige
Sunny has also managed to cheer on our netballers on a Thursday night and even a loud bark or two in the middle of a Primary assembly encouraging the student of the week. Just like every student, there is always something we can work on!
Year 4 Teacher