Testimonials

Testimonials

We have been working with the Canine Comprehension team for a couple of years now. I cannot speak more highly of their professionalism, knowledge, compassion, skill, connection, organisation, communication and understanding. Sarah Macdonald is an exceptional professional - with humans and canines! Her knowledge of dogs, the school system, people of all ages and how they all fit together is remarkable. Her understanding cannot be understated. We contacted Sarah with a challenged teenager and a new pup he wanted to take to school. Sarah engaged with my son, his new pup quickly establishing rapport and trust. The pup responded quickly and positively to the training. Sarah then connected with school, a new experience for them to have a dog in the school. A profound respect was quickly established and the dog went to school with my son for over a year until he finished VCE. Sarah was there the whole way with us. I cannot more highly recommend Canine Comprehension.

Wow. Simply wow.

Alison and Jet were fantastic in building instant rapport and trust with our students. Alison was professional, warm and direct with the facilitation of the program which suited the needs of our students. She showed flexibility and adapted to the overt presentation of students e.g. Some behavioural issues and continued with the program in a non-judgemental way. Our students responded well to the program especially to Jet who they looked forward to seeing and physically connect with eg. Patting and hugging Jet and asking him to perform tricks….Overall, a very good program.

Lynall Hall Community School: Island Campus, Youth Worker

I wanted to let you know that the AAT program has been going really well at our school. The students (and staff) love having Lucy (and Jasmine) at our school. The students chosen by teachers to be involved this year have different needs and difficulties to the students that were involved last year. My observations of the students during the program seem to indicate that they are getting a lot out of the program.  

We have also been able to have the student who was involved in the dog attack have a little one on one time with Lucy (and Jasmine) each week and she has been getting more comfortable with Lucy each week so that has been an added bonus for our school. 

PWO, Fawkner PS

Adrian* lives at home with his parents and two older brothers. He has attended our school since Prep.

Adrian has an intellectual disability, as does his eldest brother. Adrian regularly suffered anxiety throughout his school day, particularly when required to follow teacher instructions (transitioning between activities and spaces within the school).

Problem behaviours included absconding from the classroom and meeting sensory needs through destructive / inappropriate use of resources. Though initially apprehensive, Adrian came to enjoy his regular interactions with the dog. During his session and immediately after them, Adrian was substantially calmer and less prone to anxiety and more inclined to follow instructions from school staff.

Adrian has shown some improvements since his inclusion in the program. He is noticeably calmer upon arrival to school and prior to departing in the afternoon. Generally, Adrian is less prone to anxiety and more inclined to follow directions from staff.

Primary School Teacher

I felt the tutor was able to accurately pitch and adjust each session. The group dynamics was well supported by giving individual students positive and constructive feedback. There has been a significant change in the capacity of the students to feel comfortable with each other and the dogs and to be better equipped to understand how they communicate to one another.

We felt that we were very fortunate to participate in this program and hope it can be an ongoing partnership.

Learning diversity and transition leader,  Sacred Heart primary school Fitzroy.

The best thing about the program was playing with Joosh, she was my favourite. I also liked it when Chelsie talks to us about how we feel about going to high school. When we were meditating she has a really calming voice everything was perfect. I hope to see them again.

Year 6 student, Sacred heart school, Fitzroy

The tutor was able to engage the students and relate to the strategies to the students needs. I was extremely happy with the content of the program. The students were happier at school and even the staff were able to learn some more strategies to help them. I couldn’t be happier with the program and the impact it has had on our anxious at risk students.

Assistant principal, Mount Ridley College

My favourite thing was being with the dogs and having something to look forward to at school

year 7 student, catholic ladies College, Eltham

The program taught me how to be able to understand myself more and be able to calm myself. 

Year 7 student, McGuire College, Shepparton

The students have felt comfortable to discuss their anxiety in front of other students.  The students would have liked more weeks it is a fantastic program.

Learning support leader, catholic ladies College, Eltham

While I've always known on one level the health benefits that can be experienced when people have access to pets, over the past 6 months i have witnessed the profound positive impact that pet therapy sessions can have on increasing a child's engagement with school.  There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a child who was previously resistant to attending school not only be enthusiastic about coming to be involved in the pet therapy sessions but actively involved and challenging themselves through competing the activities that are presented to them.  

Sarah has a beautiful way of relating to the students needs and interests and weaves this through their interactions with the dog and the learning tasks she plans for them.  I've watched as the student has gained more and more confidence in themselves and their own ability through training Oscar to do tricks and then build on this confidence by engaging in increasing amounts with the regular school program.  The flow on benefits for the rest of our students as well have been huge and everyone's feelings get a lift when Sarah and Oscar walk into the school grounds.

I can't speak highly enough of the program that Sarah provides and am now looking at ways in which more of our students can benefit from the program she provides.  It is said that a picture paints a thousand words and to see the huge smile that lights up my students face each time Sarah and Oscar are here is worth every moment and dollar I spend in the program."

Anonymous Teacher

"Many of the students involved are showing more persistence in their day-to-day activities. They seem more confident in dealing with their peers and are less anxious in the classroom"

Teacher Primary School – Whittlesea

"Fantastic program. Jovana was outstanding at exploring strategies to reduce anxiety, whilst holding the girls' emotional wellbeing and then returning back to a group situation"

Secondary School SWC - Yarra / Darebin

"Mill Park Heights Primary school were privileged to be able to participate in the Canine Comprehension Program.  We certainly recommend Sarah and Minnie to other schools where children have worries."

Teacher - Mill Park Heights Primary School, Mill Park

"Most Significant Change has been students forming relationships with students they haven't previously had a friendship with and confidence in talking about their thoughts and feelings."

Secondary School SWC - Moreland

"The change in this particular student has been amazing - confidence; willingness to speak with others in formal and informal situations. A student who now smiles and actively engages with others. She also uses her initiative and makes decisions independently which she wasn't doing before."

Secondary School SWC - Moreland

"Mill Park Heights Primary school were privileged to be able to participate in the Canine Comprehension Program.  We certainly recommend Sarah and Minnie to other schools where children have worries."

Teacher - Mill Park Heights Primary School, Mill Park

"Our students loved the visits with Sarah and Minnie, during the 8 week program, they grew in confidence and we were able to articulate strategies they could use to alleviate stress in their lives and talk themselves into a positive frame of mind.  

Minnie was great at displaying the emotions that the students feel every day, and the students were comfortable to discuss Minnie's emotions while learning about their own!  

Would definitely recommend this program to schools looking to support anxious students!"

Anonymous

"The canine comprehension program was a terrific addition to our social emotional learning at St Catherine's.  The students thoroughly enjoyed each session particularly handling George the dog.  

I could see the students develop confidence and they willingly shared their emotions.  The instructor Gemma was professional and gave good strategies for the students to use when they felt anxious.  

Some of the students in the program have made it clear that they would like to own a dog like George on day.  

Thank you so much!"

Teacher - St Catherine’s, Lalor

"What a fantastic 8 weeks we have had with Gemma and George.

Students have gone away with more confidence and some with a love for dogs when before they were fearful.  

Thanks so much! Should happen in every school!"

Anonymous

"The Wellbeing Team at Lalor Secondary College has acquired the services of Canine Comprehension to assist with junior school students who present with increased levels of anxiety, stress or require additional support with problem solving. Canine Comprehension has also actively participated and been an integral support at Lalor Secondary College’s Discovery Evening. Staff at Canine Comprehension have always maintained professionalism whilst exercising a level of compassion when working with our students. I highly recommend Canine Comprehension to all schools and organisations working with vulnerable children and young people in the community.

Canine Comprehension is enjoyable, a great engagement tool and effective – the program works and improves student outcomes. I found the staff at Canine Comprehension to be approachable, kind, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and committed to student wellbeing; whilst always maintaining professionalism and exercising a level of compassion. 

By integrating a therapeutic dog alongside a practitioner in an educational setting, students appeared more inclined to open up and connect with one another – fostering resilience and assisting with the overall learning process. 
The benefits of implementing Canine Comprehension at our College include assistance with students transitioning from primary into secondary, students developing better problem solving skills, increase in self-confidence, learning about mindfulness and how it can be integrated into everyday life to reduce anxiety or stress. 

In all my years working as a social worker, Canine Comprehension would have to be one of the most positive, engaging and effective programs I’ve been involved in. Staff at Canine Comprehension has always maintained professionalism whilst exercising a level of compassion when working with our students. I highly recommend Canine Comprehension to all schools and organisations working with vulnerable children and young people in the community. Keep up the great work Sarah, Oscar & Co!"

Laz Zaekis, Student Well being Leader - Lalor Secondary College

"Some of the more anxious isolated students in particular have responded really well to the program."

Assistant Principal Primary School - Whittlesea

"Some of the more anxious isolated students in particular have responded really well to the program."

Assistant Principal Primary School - Whittlesea

"Most Significant Change I have observed particular students come out of their shell throughout the duration of the program, which was great to see. There has been greater connections made between students in both primary and secondary groups and I saw some of these new connections continue outside of the group"

Secondary School SWC - Yarra/Darebin