Grant

B.Ed, M.Ed (App. Learning), M.Ed (Student Wellbeing)

Dogs Connect was launched in 2015, by former primary school teacher Grant Shannon.

During his ten-year teaching career Grant recognised that his students needed more from traditional education and decided to create a program to help students feel more connected and engaged in their school environment.

Grant’s great passion for education has driven him to research the significant benefits of having a dog in the classroom. Grant willingly shares his knowledge and scientific evidence, teaching students and staff how to build emotional intelligence and resilience. Many schools are now witnessing first-hand the impact the program is having on academic outcomes.

He is currently working on a research partnership with Latrobe University to contribute to the growing evidence supporting the beneficial use of dogs working as learning support in school settings.

Steve

B.A., Dip.Ed, GradDipPsych

Steve has been a teacher for 15 years working predominantly as an English teacher, whilst enjoying a role in student management.  Steve was very excited by the arrival of Dogs Connect at the school he was teaching at in 2019, and instantly put his hand up to become involved in the program. This involvement with Dogs Connect at Bendigo South East College led to him express interest in working for Dogs Connect as a facilitator in schools and workplaces.

Steve’s interest in mental health and psychology motivated him to complete a Post Graduate Diploma in Psychology through Monash University in recent years.  This has helped Steve develop an understanding of the importance of empirical research to back up anecdotal evidence. He is excited by the potential of wellbeing dogs to support and enhance the wellbeing of people young and old, and improve their life learning experience as a result. Steve combines his extensive experience in secondary school settings with his passion for student wellbeing and connectedness, to support the implementation of the Dogs Connect Program. Dogs have been a significant part of Steve’s life since a very young age, and he enjoys blending a range of his passions into his role as a Dogs Connect facilitator.

Amanda

BA (Psych. Soc), MSW.

Amanda is a counsellor with more than 25 years of experience working in the area of mental health in both community and education contexts. Amanda is passionate about all things wellbeing and values strengths-based, trauma-informed practice drawing on the field of positive psychology in her work with individuals, families, organisations and communities.  She shares a strong interest in staff wellbeing and holistic approaches in building capacity, connection and resilience.   Amanda assists in supporting the establishment of partnerships, development of resources and in program delivery. Seeing the profound impact of this program in improving wellbeing is an absolute joy for Amanda.

Sonny

Student and teacher

Sonny is a Labradoodle and has been working in schools since he was eight weeks old. He has been trained to behave appropriately in a range of school settings and situations and works as a teaching and learning facilitator, as well as a student.

Sonny’s job is to demonstrate a range of examples of how a dog can be used in schools to improve the culture and social and emotional wellbeing of students and staff.

Sonny is not a school pet, he is a dog working as a teaching and learning facilitator, who also happens to love fetching balls.

Jack

Student and teacher

Jack’s job is to demonstrate a range of examples of how a dog can be used in schools to improve the culture and social and emotional wellbeing of students and staff.

Jack is not a school pet, he is a dog working as a teaching and learning facilitator, who also happens to love fetching balls.

Bingo

Student and teacher

Bingo is the new kid (a.k.a student, teacher and dog) on the block. She is in the middle of her training, learning how to behave appropriately in all school situations and will be graduating soon.