Bournemouth University gets student therapy dog

  • 23 October 2013
  • From the section Dorset
Jack the Shih Tzu from Bournemouth University
Image caption Jack helps students who need extra help to relax and cope with their work

A university in Dorset has enlisted the help of a dog to help students who need extra learning support.

Jack, a shih tzu, has been brought in by Bournemouth University to help students with mental health issues and physical or sensory impairments.

The three-year-old, owned by tutor Carolyn Atherton, has become part of the additional learning support team.

Ms Atherton said he was "laid back until horizontal [but] if someone's upset, he's there like a shot".

Jack's job was created as a pilot in conjunction with local voluntary group Caring Canines.

He spends the day in the office with his owner and attends one-to-one tutorials with up to 12 students a week.

'Funny aloofness'

Ms Atherton said he helps them relax, focus and cope better with tasks they find difficult.

She said: "I always ask students first if they are happy for him to be there - so far, no-one has said no.

"He always brings a smile to their face.

"He's a little dog with a big presence - a bit of a character. He's laid back until he's horizontal, but he has his mad moments too.

"We all find his aloofness funny. But if someone's upset, student or staff, he's there like a shot."

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