There has been a new addition to the Galston High School team this month with the introduction of Bendigo into the Hub.
Bendigo is a Tamaruke Labradoodle and will be undertaking training to become a certified companion (therapy) dog. He will work with students from the Hub. Scientific research has indicated the presence of service/ therapy dogs assists in improving the mental health, physical health, and learning capacity of children and adults (Fine, 2000; Chandler, 2001).
More specifically, the benefits of using a therapy dog in schools and counselling sessions have been well documented. The gentle, calming nature of Tamaruke dogs, and their ability to love unconditionally, and comfort people in need, make them perfect for inclusion in the daily lives of people in need. They assist socially anxious people to come out of their shells, and it helps them engage more freely, leading to maximising student potential. As a future service dog Bendigo, is currently attending GHS to become familiar with the environment.
He is a working dog when at GHS which means he cannot be cuddled and played with like a domestic pet. As such, students and staff ask to pat Bendigo before they interact with him. This is setting him up to be a successful companion dog.
When he is certified, he will wear a jacket/vest to identify when he is working (as with other service dogs such as guide dogs, sniffer dogs and police dogs).