By Angela Norval
Boasting the sweetest face ever, Jude is stealing students’ hearts at Walkervale State School.
The six-year-old black and tan miniature dachshund has a quiet, friendly and calm nature and loves the company of people and a pat.
Owner Kate Cook said that as well as attending obedience school, Jude was also being used to support the wellbeing of students within the school setting.
“Having a dog like Jude has been trialled successfully in many schools as they can be used in so many positive ways such as building rapport with students, assisting in calming more anxious students and assisting students in becoming more social, and being a non-judgmental listener when reading aloud or speaking,” she said.
“They also enable students to give and receive attention and affection.”
It has been two weeks since Jude started at Walkervale State School and during that time the children have displayed a great deal of excitement around her arrival.
Kate said students were taking care of Jude’s wellbeing, ensuring that she was safe and happy while at school, just as she looked after theirs.
They welcome her as she arrives each morning and whenever they see her throughout the day.
Some children are making a concerted effort to visit Jude each day, to read to her, or just sit and spend time with her.
“Of course, we are also very aware of the impact this responsibility can have on the dog, so Jude has her own ‘house’ in the library where she can be by herself, if needed,” she said.
Principal Ken Peacock said it had been lovely to see Jude interact with the students and how quickly they had taken to her.
“Jude seems to consider Walkervale her second home now and to be honest, even the staff are also enjoying Jude being part of our school,” he said.