CUTE AND CUDDLY: Ashtyn and Kalia with therapy dogs Moana and Pablo.
CUTE AND CUDDLY: Ashtyn and Kalia with therapy dogs Moana and Pablo. Vicki Wood

School adopts two puppies for student therapy

THEY are tiny, fuzzy balls of cuteness and they're proving a hit at Carinity's Gladstone school campus.

It was midway through last term when principal Jane Greenland introduced two 'therapy dogs' to the school's campus.

Kyan and Alan with therapy puppies Pablo and Moana at Carinity's Gladstone school campus.
Kyan and Alan with therapy puppies Pablo and Moana at Carinity's Gladstone school campus. Contributed

Only they aren't quite dogs yet. Pablo and Moana are four-month-old moodle puppies (maltese poodle crosses) who have clearly settled in well to life at school.

Therapeutic youth worker Chanise Grealy has been at the Carinity school for just over a year and said the puppies were a welcome addition.

"Dogs are unconditional love machines, when (the students) are feeling down or upset or needing to calm down, having something warm to cuddle has been super helpful," she said.

Ashtyn and Kalia with therapy dogs Moana and Pablo.
Ashtyn and Kalia with therapy dogs Moana and Pablo. Vicki Wood

Ms Grealy said the puppies were brought in after staff noticed some of the students were having trouble identifying their emotions and being able to express them.

"I find a lot of the students that do have trouble communicating their emotions really connect with the dogs," she said.

"Having (the dog) as a distraction, to then have conversations about, is really useful."

Ms Grealy said the puppies had not received any special training to be therapy dogs but were picking it up on the job.

"Young people are unpredictable but add a dog into the mix and they just immediately are calm and chill," she said.

"If someone is having a bad day you can just throw a puppy at them, they are so helpful to have."

Year 7 student Kalia only started at Carinity recently and thought it was unusual to have puppies at school.

"It's really cool," she said

"They make things calmer, if you don't feel comfortable you can just hold a puppy."

Fellow Year 7 student Ashtyn agreed.

"At first I thought it was unusual but then I found out they were therapy puppies," she said.

"They are actually really adorable and can help people and they don't bite as much as other dogs."

Ms Grealy said the school had plans to introduce more animals to school life.

"We have a lot of land, we are planning on building a chicken coop and getting some chickens in soon and way down the track we want to have more animals," she said.



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