Aggie - School Wellbeing Dog
Agatha (Aggie) is an 8-year-old Cockapoo, owned by Mr and Mrs Bull who are Head of our Boarding community at Warwick School. Aggie has lived on the school site with the Bull family as part of the boarding community for her whole life. Aggie began ‘working’ in the Wellbeing Hub in September 2022 and has been a welcome and very popular addition to Wellbeing provision in the Hub! She seems to know when pupils need a quiet cuddle on the sofa and sits calmly with them (providing hand licks to those who want them!). She also seems to sense when pupils want some fun and distraction, happily charging round the Hub in pursuit of her toy dinosaur or tennis ball, providing smiles and laughter to everyone. We love having Aggie in the Hub and the pupils soon learn her ‘shift’ pattern and come in specially to see her on the days she’s working with us.
Agatha will be kept on a lead and harness when moving between classrooms or on a walk and will be under the full control and supervision of an adult. There may be occasions when Agatha is off lead, but this will only happen in an enclosed space and under the control of an adult. Before removing the lead, all present will be consulted.
Agatha will have a bed in the Wellbeing Hub and will spend much of her time there. She lives on school site with the Bull family so will return there regularly throughout the day.
Agatha will not go into the dining room; she will not roam around the school or make unexpected visits to rooms. She will be based in the Wellbeing Hub/Junior School/boarding house and work with key staff.
Students will always be supervised when with Agatha.
If a student does not want to engage with Agatha, they will not have to. Students will always be asked if they wish to engage and can always say no. Experience and research have shown that, with proper guidance and handling, children can learn to overcome their fear of animals and grow in respect and appreciation for them.
It is understandable that some students may be concerned about possible allergic reactions to a school dog. However, Agatha will be subjected to the most thorough cleanliness and grooming regime. She will also only be allowed in situations with pupils who voluntarily wish to work with her.
The school should be informed of all students who have an allergy to dogs/dog fur. This information will be circulated to supervising adults, so they know, and students will be kept a safe distance away. Students with severe allergies should seek advice before entering the Wellbeing Hub (or other spaces where Agatha will be ‘working’).
Students will be given guidance and instructions before engaging with Agatha. It can be hugely rewarding and therapeutic to engage with animals but this will always be done under instruction and with supervision.
The Risk Assessment and Procedures documents outline details of the hygiene practices which will be in place – such as cleaning of hands and the environment before and after meeting Agatha.
If you do not inform the school otherwise, we will assume you are happy for your child to interact with Agatha if they wish to do so.
KHS also have a school dog called Parsnip and Warwick Prep School have a dog called Ollie. Visitors/parents are not allowed to bring dogs on site.
Agatha is extremely well looked after. She lives with the Bull family in the boarding house so is always on the school site. Agatha will meet with students in a controlled setting and will always be accompanied by a trained adult. Whilst Agatha is ‘working’ in school, she will have access to a bed and a quiet space in her home and in the Wellbeing Hub, where she can relax during the day. Agatha will visit the vet regularly for all her vaccinations and will have all worming and flea treatment, as directed. She will also undergo regular check-ups. If she is unwell for any reason, she will stay at home.
If at any point it comes to light that Agatha does not actively enjoy life in the school environment, then she will no longer attend.