Shropshire students make a fuss of school dogs for national celebration day

As children across Shropshire look forward to getting home and spoiling their pets as part of a national celebration, pupils at one Shropshire school don’t have to wait until home time.
Meet Harvey and Oscar, the school pets at Thomas Adams School and Adams House boarding house in Wem.
As part of National Kids and Pets Day, which falls on Sunday (April 26), pupils at the school in Lowe Hill have been spoiling their animals.
Headteacher Liz Dakin said: “It is great to have the dogs in the school and the boarding house, the pupils really respond to them.
“It can often make them more relaxed if they are anxious or upset and those with special educational needs respond well to them.
“The dogs are actually owned by staff members but they definitely call school their home, they are part of the furniture and the family atmosphere here.”
As part of the national day student volunteers who walk the dogs have been treating them to extra long walks, visits to classrooms and agility games devised by the pupils.
Harvey, a cocker spaniel, stays in the pastoral department at the school.
Year 11 pupil Finlay Roberts, 15, said Harvey is great to have around the school.
He said: “I found it unusual at the start that there was a dog in the school but he is great for stress relieving.
“He is like a mascot for the school and they are here all the time so you know you can just go and hug them.”
Harvey has been going to the school for around three years and is owned by drama teacher Sarah Jane Carter.
She said: “I have brought him in with me since he was a puppy.
“I didn’t want to leave him at home and after speaking to staff here everyone was in favour of it, so he’s been here ever since.
“He’s part of the furniture now and has comforted so many children over the years.
“He’s even starred in our drama productions and loved his moment of fame.”
Oscar, a cocker poo, belongs to head of boarding Nicki Cooper and lives at the boarding house offices during the day and goes home with her in the evenings.
Sixth form student Blake Heyne, 18, is from Saudi Arabia and Oscar is a great comfort to the boarding house.
He said: “Everybody loves Oscar. “I am from Saudi Arabia and I have my own dog at home and when I miss him I just go and give him a hug.
“He is a comfort.”
Mrs Cooper bought Oscar during the Easter holidays last year with the intention of taking him into school each day.
She said: “From speaking to a lot of boarders we knew they would love a dog but it wouldn’t be ideal for him to live there permanently because he’d have to find another home in holidays.
“It is trying to make it a home from home and everyone has really taken to him in the year he’s been here.
“When we get to school each day he is so excited and just loves seeing the students, he loves it as much as they do.”
Jess Walliss, a year 10 student who boards at the school, has been going to the dogs for comfort since she first started there.
She said: “I was really homesick when I first started and took a while to settle in but both dogs were a real comfort to me and really helped.
“I go to them both a lot just for a hug and interaction, having Harvey in school is great and then I get Oscar in the boarding house too - I’ve never heard of this before but it is such a good idea.
“It is a simple way of making this more like home and it feels that way to me now.”
Another student in year seven, said: “It found it really odd when I first came to the school, I had never expected there to be a dog.
“It is great though, they are so much fun and when I tell my other friends in different schools they are really jealous.”

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