“Buddy” is a two-and-a-half-year-old Labrador dog who is now an official member at Castle Newsham School in Bedford, England. He helps the school’s staff and children to deal with various mood disorders and anxiety issues caused due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Buddy now works three days a week and helps students from age 9 to 16. Buddy belongs to Nik Maund, who is also the Vice-Principal of the school. He says that he noticed buddy’s calming influence on the children and how buddy helped children deal with anxiety.
One of the pupils at the school named Tyler said that Buddy is always cheerful and helps him and his fellow students when they are feeling stressed.
Mr. Nik Maund is in charge of pastoral care at the state school. He stated that due to the pandemic circumstances, more and more children have become anxious and stressed. Buddy, his dog, brings a calming influence to them. Children know that Buddy will not be judgemental, and they can walk with him, play with him and distract their minds from this pandemic situation.
“We’re seeing children being able to open up to adults through Buddy… he’s reaching children that we would normally not be able to reach,” said Mr. Maund.
How it all started?
Mr. Maund bought Buddy to school for a take-your-dog-to-work day. He was astonished to see the impact it made on the children and the staff. He was amazed to see how the children responded to see “buddy” and spending time with him.
He mentions that Lockdown made life worse for kids. They don’t get to see their friends and expel their energy with various play activities that used to happen in school. They missed school, and when the schools opened, the number of restrictions made them feel more anxious.
The teachers at the school, lead by the headteacher, Ruth Wilkes, allowed Buddy in the school in April 2021. “The response has been great so far,” added Mr. Maund.
Children say that playing and running with Buddy on the ground puts a smile on their faces, and they feel happy and relaxed. Buddy is managed closely as he can feel worn out due to so much attention. However, he enjoys his time with the kids and doesn’t seem to get tired of the kids.
Source: BBC News