Over the past 2 months, my education dog, Paddy, and I have been working with a group of 16 year 8 & 9 students at Spires Academy in Canterbury. Each week we focused on a different topic including dog breeds; dog law & training; dog care & the cost of a dog; health & nutrition; the work of Dogs Trust; and current issues.
The course allowed these students to reflect on their interactions with their own dogs and/or those that they come across in their daily lives and all of them engaged fantastically throughout; many commenting that they didn’t want the course to end!
For the final session, I met the students at our Canterbury Rehoming Centre. After a few activities, I gave them a behind-the-scenes tour of the centre and they were even lucky enough to meet ‘Gurt’, a puppy which had previously been illegally smuggled into the country. This really brought to life the issues of the puppy smuggling problem and brachycephalic breeds which we’d discussed in previous sessions.
It was fantastic to see just how much the students had all learnt in the past 6 weeks. As a result of the course, all students said they now felt more knowledgeable about dogs and, upon being asked what they would now do differently, one said they would now walk their dog twice a day instead of once; three said they would now microchip their dog; one said they would now be more mindful about what they feed their dog; and lots said they would now remember to ask before stroking someone’s dog.
The tutor was so impressed with how the students all engaged that after just the first week he booked in another course for the next academic year!