The Maynard School in Exeter welcomed a new recruit this week with the arrival of Nula, a former working guide dog who has recently retired from service and is looking for a more relaxed lifestyle.
“The Junior School girls absolutely adore her and she has settled in just brilliantly,” said Keagh Fry, Year 4 teacher and official guardian for Nula. “Being an ex-guide dog means she is impeccably well behaved and she is just lapping up all the fuss and attention from everyone at the School. It couldn’t have worked out better!
“Each class takes it in turn to walk her during break and lunch times and it’s just such a sweet sight watching them all totter off happily with their dog! Equally, if someone is feeling a little sad, a cuddle with Nula soon cheers them up. She has certainly added a completely new dimension and all the girls have renewed purpose in sharing the responsibility of looking after her during the day.
“I have to say, though, that she wouldn’t make a very good pupil as she sleeps through every lesson!”
The notion that ‘pets are good for us’ is by no means a new one and all research states that a dog can boost mental wellbeing and raise self-esteem. At this leading girls’ school, pastoral care is key to the success of its students and The Maynard prides itself on its warm and friendly appeal. Having its own dog is certainly testimony to the school’s ethos that happiness matters.
“It’s almost as though I have become invisible overnight,” said Mrs Fry. “Whenever I am with Nula no one even registers me anymore as they are too busy bending over and talking to the dog!”