Sign In

School Therapy Dog

August 4, 2020


At 15 weeks old, Frankie is the youngest staff member at Kalkie State School.

But there are a couple of differences between Frankie and other staff members who attend the school.

Frankie has four legs, a wagging tail and is the school’s newest therapy dog.

The little miniature Dachshund joins the school’s other therapy dog, Froki, in the classroom, where they help children with behavioural or learning difficulties.

Kalkie State School teacher, Tina Carruthers said the full-time canine classroom dogs acted as a four-legged teachers’ aide and helped to calm anxious students, assist with reading by listening and act as writing inspiration.

“Last year we decided we’d help support our students in different ways, and we found Froki,” Ms Carruthers said.

“He was our first therapy dog and we rescued him from Fraser Coast.”

“This year we brought on Frankie, she’s our little Dachshund girl and is quite young and is more for the junior kids, while Froki, being the bigger boy, is for the senior kids.”

“It’s about the kids having something else to look after and just to give the kids some support in the classroom and outside of it.”

The dogs join a menagerie of other animals at the school, including chickens and guinea pigs.

Kalkie State School Principal Amanda Findlay said, the animals worked in unison with the school’s curriculum and helped make learning fun

“We have two guinea pigs, Piglet and Cosmo, the two puppies Frankie and Froki, seven chickens that we incubated and hatched, and some goldfish

“It works with our curriculum and it prompt responsibility, as our students are involved with washing them, caring for them, feeding them and there’s a lot of research lead by the students into the best shelter for them and the type of foods they need and what it is we need to have.”

“When the students were undertaking an audit of our waste they realised 50 percent of it was food waste, so they wrote a proposal around getting the chicken and that’s where we started the animal journey.”

“It opened up a little bit of a door to what we have.” While the chickens and guinea pigs are a fantastic learning opportunity, they don’t offer the same level of social and emotional support as the school’s therapy dogs.

Research shows that therapy dogs can assist and support children with social and emotional learning needs, which in turn can assist with literacy development.

Principal Amanda Findlay said Frankie and Froki were providing an invaluable service and were a great distraction particularly during the stress and anxiety brought on from COVID.

“Our dogs start first thing in the morning with students who are reluctant to come to school, or are really nervous, particularly at the moment with COVID restriction where parents can’t come into the school grounds,” Amanda said.

“The dogs are a great way to get kids out of the car and they also go and do reading with the children, and are particularly helpful for reluctant readers as the dog is not judgemental – it’s just happy to sit there and listen.”

Register your Dog Schedule a Visit

  • Recent News

    Pet Therapy Program

    Saturday, October 10 is World Mental Health Day, which this year has a new sense of urgency for many. Covid-19 has taken a mental and emotional toll on healthcare workers across the U.S but there is a program boosting the spirits of doctors and nurses on the frontlines. At UC Irvine Medical Center in Southern […]

    Read more

    AMR Therapy Dog

    Rampart, a therapy dog with American Medical Response San Bernardino County, recently passed his Certified Therapy Dog exam. AMR acquired Rampart, a 1½-year-old goldendoodle, when he was 10 weeks old. Rampart started basic obedience classes when he was 4 months old and continued through advanced obedience classes, according to a news release. When he was […]

    Read more

    Workers Get Canine Interactions

    It was a long, boring spring and summer for the four-footed members of the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, who couldn’t visit nursing homes and hospitals giving tail wags and doggy smiles. The coronavirus paused the professional canine therapeutic interactions with patients and hospital workers. “You could actually see him falling into a depression at home,” said Wendy Kadish of […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Program

    An initiative by Cyndy Caravelis, associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at Western Carolina University, will include a pilot program to use a therapy dog to aid domestic violence victims and their families in Jackson County. Caravelis’ German shepherd Atlas will escort victims and family members into court procedures and stay with children while […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogs Working With Staff

    After a pause due to COVID-19, the St. John Ambulance Abbotsford therapy dog team recently returned to visit staff at several different correctional facilities in the Fraser Valley. The PAWS inside program originally began at the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women five years ago and started off by providing services to inmates. Last year, the […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Bringing Comfort

    The Marion County Sheriff’s Office has a special K-9 who plays an important role. While most K-9s help in crime scenes and investigations, Comfort Caj is crime therapy dog and brings smiles to the community and the sheriff’s office. “He really brings a light and energy to this whole building, that you can’t fathom, you […]

    Read more

    Montgomery County's Therapy Dog

    Montgomery County has a new tool to help give crime victims some support. That tool’s name is Zurg. Zurg is the new therapy dog for the Montgomery County district attorney’s office. Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey introduced Zurg as the newest member of the team Monday. Coming from Canine Companions for Independence, Zurg will […]

    Read more