My Clinic:

Justin Phillips

Published: Thursday March 08 2018 by Justin Phillips

Pepper and Anna outside school

Pepper with owner Miss Anna Murphy

One of the first teaching dogs in the West Midlands

Nine-month-old Labradoodle, Pepper, works alongside her owner Miss Anna Murphy at The Oaklands Primary School in Acocks Green, Birmingham.

Miss Murphy, who is the school’s special educational needs and disabilities coordinator, came up with the idea of introducing a school dog into the classroom after seeing the success of therapy dogs in other industries, and Pepper has immediately proven popular with pupils. So far, Pepper has worked with around 70 pupils who have additional needs.

Miss Murphy explains: “I’ve always been a dog lover and after reading lots of research about therapy and school dogs, I started thinking about how a dog could benefit our pupils.  I then spoke to a couple of schools around the UK that have successfully introduced dogs into the classroom and I knew it could work well at The Oaklands.  Our CEO, Principal and senior leaders agreed it was a good idea, so I decided to go for it and found a breeder who specialises in working therapy and school dogs.  We have been working with a local dog behaviourist since Pepper was tiny, which has been hugely valuable in preparing Pepper for school life.”

“Pepper now spends three days a week in school and as she gets older this will increase.  Pupils love reading to her, because she will never judge their ability, which is fantastic for their confidence.  She’s also great at diffusing heated situations and soothing pupils if they feel upset or anxious, as she’s very intuitive and quickly recognises how people are feeling.”

Miss Murphy adds: “We’re now looking at how she can benefit the wider school and she’s recently started doing weekly visits to the class with the best attendance records.  We’ve also launched a club where pupils can come to learn about pet care as well as helping to train Pepper, which is proving extremely popular and everyone really enjoys it.

Keeping Pepper healthy

 

As part of White Cross Vets’ commitment to offering free care and medication to school pets, Pepper now enjoys complimentary membership of the practice’s Complete Wellness Plan, which offers a wide range of benefits including free preventative healthcare treatments and unlimited consultations.

Becky Hartley from White Cross Vets in Kings Heath, where Pepper is registered, says: “We’ve always been big advocates of pets in schools because they help pupils learn about good pet care and the responsibilities that come with owning pets.  Pepper takes this to another level as a school dog and she’s doing a fantastic job and making a real difference.  It’s great to be able to offer her the best possible treatment and regular check-ups to ensure she’s always in tip top condition.”

Miss Murphy commented: "Knowing that we have the support of White Cross Vets, certainly gives us peace of mind and it’s great that they also recognise the valuable work that she’s doing.”

Free care for all school and service pets

In addition to school pets, White Cross Vets offers free healthcare to a wide range of other working dogs including fire and search dogs.  The family-run veterinary business also offers people working for the fire service and NHS, as well as those who serve in the Police, Army, Navy and RAF, 10% off all bills, medication, food and other purchased products.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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200-202 Muirhead Avenue, West Derby, Liverpool, L13 0BA

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Please note we are next to the Co-op at the end of Talbot Road.

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Mayfield Avenue, Walkden, Worsley, Manchester M28 3JF

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White Cross Vets, The Parkway Centre, Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough TS8 0TJ

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The Boulevard, Weston Favell Shopping Centre, Northampton, NN3 8JP

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Unit 3 West Dyke Road Retail Park, Redcar TS10 2AA

White Cross Vets, Sheffield – Handsworth

155-159 Retford Road, Handsworth, Sheffield S13 9LD

White Cross Vets, St Helens

2-3 Millfields Court, Millfield Road, Eccleston, St Helens WA10 5RG

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110 Leamore Lane, Bloxwich, Walsall WS2 7BU

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Fir Park, Queensbury Way, Widnes WA8 9BD

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High Street, Wolstanton, Newcastle-under-Lyme ST5 0EW

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333A Penn Road, Wolverhampton WV4 5QF

Select your practice

White Cross Vets, Birmingham – Kings Heath

283 Alcester Road South, Kings Heath, Birmingham, B14 6EB

White Cross Vets, Bradford – Eccleshill

266 Harrogate Road, Eccleshill, Bradford BD2 3RH

White Cross Vets, Derby – Alvaston

1238 London Road, Alvaston, Derby, DE24 8QP

White Cross Vets, Dudley – Tividale

194 Regent Road, Tividale, Oldbury, B69 1SB

White Cross Vets, Leeds – Guiseley

8 Bradford Road, Guiseley, Leeds LS20 8NH

White Cross Vets, Leeds – Roundhay

31 Street Lane, Roundhay, Leeds LS8 1BW

White Cross Vets, Liverpool – Gateacre

Unit 2, Gateacre Local Centre, Gateacre Park Drive, Liverpool L25 1PD

White Cross Vets, Liverpool – West Derby

200-202 Muirhead Avenue, West Derby, Liverpool, L13 0BA

White Cross Vets, Manchester – Newton, Hyde

Talbot Road, Hyde SK14 4XG (For Sat Nav use: SK14 4EQ)
Please note we are next to the Co-op at the end of Talbot Road.

White Cross Vets, Manchester – Walkden

Mayfield Avenue, Walkden, Worsley, Manchester M28 3JF

White Cross Vets, Middlesbrough – Coulby Newham

White Cross Vets, The Parkway Centre, Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough TS8 0TJ

White Cross Vets, Northampton

The Boulevard, Weston Favell Shopping Centre, Northampton, NN3 8JP

White Cross Vets, Redcar

Unit 3 West Dyke Road Retail Park, Redcar TS10 2AA

White Cross Vets, Sheffield – Handsworth

155-159 Retford Road, Handsworth, Sheffield S13 9LD

White Cross Vets, St Helens

2-3 Millfields Court, Millfield Road, Eccleston, St Helens WA10 5RG

White Cross Vets, Walsall – Bloxwich

110 Leamore Lane, Bloxwich, Walsall WS2 7BU

White Cross Vets, Widnes

Fir Park, Queensbury Way, Widnes WA8 9BD

White Cross Vets, Wolstanton

High Street, Wolstanton, Newcastle-under-Lyme ST5 0EW

White Cross Vets, Wolverhampton

333A Penn Road, Wolverhampton WV4 5QF