During Children’s Mental Health Week, Saint Joseph’s Catholic Voluntary Academy in Matlock, Derbyshire, has introduced a Labrador named Arthur to provide comfort and companionship to its students. Arthur can be petted and spends time with the children in the “zen den,” a quiet space equipped with toys and a sofa. Head Teacher Stacey Carr explains that Arthur has become a calming influence in the school, particularly for children who struggle with regulating their emotions.
To further promote mindfulness and relaxation, the school conducts daily sessions such as yoga, in which Arthur actively participates. Mrs. Carr emphasizes that Arthur has become a beloved figure among the students, offering them unconditional love and support. He not only helps to calm children down but also teaches them the importance of responsibility and empathy.
Arthur has been a part of the school since the beginning of the academic year and has become an integral part of the students’ lives. As a reward for good behavior, children are allowed to walk Arthur, bringing joy, excitement, and a deeper understanding of caring for others. The staff also uses Arthur as an example to highlight the significance of sleep, as he often dozes off during reading time.
The impact of Arthur’s presence at the school is evident in the students’ reactions. Bridget, an 11-year-old pupil, describes Arthur’s presence as both calming and exciting. Orlaith, also 11, expresses her love for having Arthur in school, finding it fun and adorable. She even mentions that Arthur’s presence brings comfort not only to the children but also to the staff.
By incorporating Arthur into the school environment, Saint Joseph’s Catholic Voluntary Academy prioritizes the well-being and mental health of its students. The positive effects of having a therapy dog like Arthur are clear, as he provides comfort, companionship, and emotional support to the children. With Arthur’s presence, the school fosters a nurturing and inclusive atmosphere for all its students.