7th November 2019 — The pupils and members of staff at Dulwich College were delighted to welcome Monty - a therapy dog in training, into their school community. Monty is undergoing specific training to become a fully accredited therapy dog. He is owned by Mrs Benest, the Head of Learning Support Transition, and will spend time in her offices in the Lower School and DUCKS. Mrs Benest is working closely with professionals from Believe in Magic Dog Training and Behaviour. Together they have carefully planned a phased introduction into school life for Monty to ensure that he settles in successfully and enjoys his time in school. They closely monitor his wellbeing and develop his skills in working with children of all ages.
The value of pet therapy has long been accepted as a powerful aid in offering psychological, emotional, social and physical support for students. Monty’s role at Dulwich is two-fold, supporting both emotional health and academic success. Monty is being trained to undertake specific activities, known as animal-assisted interventions, with selected pupils from across the College and DUCKS on a one-to-one basis. They are designed to help calm, build confidence and bring enjoyment to both the pupils and Monty. As Monty’s skills progress, we hope to also develop a Read2Dogs programme.
Dulwich College and its grounds remains a no dogs site; however, special consideration is given to Monty and he will be clearly identifiable, wearing a ‘Service Dog’ vest and harness. The welfare of both Monty and the pupils are at the forefront of our minds and although his role will evolve, it will do so only at a pace that is considered appropriate.
We look forward to keeping parents and pupils up to date with Monty’s progress and news.