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Zac the Dog Joins Wellbeing Team at Maltby

Maltby Academy Invests in Pets As Therapy to Boost Student Wellbeing And Engagement

Following new research demonstrating how interacting with pets can significantly reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol among young people, Maltby Academy have welcomed Zac, the long-haired German Shepherd, along with his owner and Pets as Therapy volunteer, Natasha Connell, to join selected lessons.  

The primary aim of Pets As Therapy (PAT) is to bring regular animal companionship and comfort to schools and other establishments by means of visits from volunteers and their registered temperament-tested pets. 

Mrs Crompton, Assistant Vice Principal at the Academy, said: “Students met Zac for the first time this week. It has been amazing to see the change in student’s confidence and concentration; as soon as they are told they’ll be spending time with Zac, they are engaged, engrossed and smiling!  

“The PAT Dog can be used in many ways in the classroom, e.g., the teacher may say “Zac can’t hear you and would really like to hear this story, can you speak up so that Zac can hear?”, or the PAT Dog can a be shown pictures, equations, or symbols and the student explains to the dog what the pictures are and what they mean.  

“There is also the option for children to learn how to care for a pet, how to behave around animals, promoting social skills and confidence both in and outside of school.

It was lovely to hear one student state "I'd read every day, if l could do it with Zac!"

With the full cohort of students returning to school on the 8 March, Natasha and Zac will be visiting Maltby Academy weekly to boost student morale and wellbeing.