Dogs Connect Mentorship Overview
“Wellbeing for California Gully Primary School is an area for consistent development and the goals of Dogs Connect aligned perfectly with our current initiatives. Like all schools a continual focus of all children being ‘ready to learn’ sets up positive experiences for all at school. Working with Grant to further develop and build strategies for individual students, classes and our wider community underpins our connection with Dogs Connect. We recognise the need to build authentic experiences for all and strongly believe that Dogs Connect will significantly support this goal.”
“It’s not just about bringing a dog into the classroom, it goes to a much deeper level than that. The benefits to students and staff have been extraordinary.”
“I had been working one on one with a young man in Grade 5 who was continually displaying harmful behaviours and was disengaged from his classroom. I had heard about Grant’s work with Sonny and arranged for the young man and I to visit the school to spend some time with them. Grant spent over half the day with this boy and with Sonny. The result after such a short time was truly amazing. The young fella made a poster about Sonny and presented it to the class – it was the very first time he had stood up in front of this own class.”
“Dogs Connect has provided an opportunity to connect in ways we didn’t think were possible.”
“Lexi has been able to provide physical stimulation for our students, promote self-esteem and a sense of belonging and is a friend to all here at St. Peter’s. She has been able to help students overcome fear, relieve stress and anxiety, and develop an understanding of self-management of their emotions through explicit teaching sessions.
Grant was, and still is, amazing at supporting our staff and students to help integrate Lexi into our community. His knowledge and professionalism with the dogs, children and staff was a huge part in success of this program at our school.
My favorite part about having Lexi at St. Peter’s is how she can bring together our whole-school community. No one who comes to Lexi for a pat and a play leaves without a glowing smile from ear-to-ear. From the Principal, to the administration staff, to the baby brother or sister of a child in our school, Lexi is a friend to all and promotes a culture of inclusivity and togetherness that changes the whole school climate for the better.”
“We know that we’ve got something in our school that’s special, it’s a dog, and her name’s Bridie, and she is part of our school and I think the community realizes that we’ve got something special going on”
“In our classrooms we like our kids to be likeable and independent and to do that, we need to work on social and emotional wellbeing. As far as developing leadership, communication and collaboration, our dog Sonny, has definitely helped with all of this.”
“At Holy Rosary Primary School Heathcote, learning, teaching and the well-being of our students, staff and parents is absolutely paramount for our school to improve and grow. Although very early into the program we are already experiencing positive impacts of having ‘Bridie’ at our school thanks to the guidance and expertise of Grant and Sonny. The students are understanding very quickly the expectations and we are excited to see how this innovative program will enhance the positive culture of our community.”
“Various studies, as well as anecdotal evidence through my clinic, have demonstrated the positive effects that stem from people’s relationships with dogs, including children, the elderly, as well as those with mental health problems. Benefits include, but are not limited to: improved physical functioning, lowered stress levels, increased concentration and emotional regulation, improved social behaviour and increased social interaction. Dogs can provide emotional support for people through their calm demeanours, friendly non-judgemental attitudes, and sensitivity to human emotions. They can also offer children the feeling of security and comfort, providing a friend to bond with. It is wonderful to hear of Grant’s expansion of his Dogs Connect Program. I have been fortunate to personally and professionally know children who have benefitted from having Grant and his dog (Sonny) in their classrooms.”
“It’s just incredible. It’s really fun, exciting, but at the same time you have to be really calm. I never knew there was such thing as having a dog at school.”
“I was so happy when Lexi started at our school because she was so cute. I get to work with Lexi when she is in my classroom by taking her for walks and playing and learning with her. She comes to sit next to me when I’m working on my computer, it makes me feel calm. I think Lexi being at our school has changed the school in a good way because she makes everyone happy when they see her.”