A Helping Paw - Star News Cranbourne
Cranbourne’s Oscar the kelpie and his owner Alissa Lever, a provisional psychologist, regularly visit schools around the area in their roles and have seen first-hand the impact of the therapy on students.
Oscar is on the payroll for Canine Comprehension, which runs wellbeing programs in schools.
Each of Oscar’s classes consists of 10 students chosen by the school, who sit with Oscar and cover a curriculum chosen by the school from one of the company’s programs.
The hour-long sessions can cover topics like anxiety, dog body language, friendship and other life lessons, and usually involve open discussion of the topic, an activity with Oscar that communicates a message about it, and some mindfulness to wind down.
“The work we do encourages kids that may be having a difficult time at school to come to classes, have a positive experience in the classroom and learn about emotions, self-awareness, empathy, communication skills, teamwork and problem-solving through interactions with Oscar,” Ms Lever said.
“We talk about the process of learning so that kids can use that information in their other classes when the dogs are not there to keep them at that calm level.”