Marlow, the Good Shepherd Catholic School, Rasmussen Therapy Dog.

Meet Marlow, One of Townsville’s First School-Based Therapy Dogs

Marlow is the latest addition to the Good Shepherd Catholic School, Rasmussen community. And no, she is not a student. Marlow is the school’s Therapy Dog, who has been trained to provide support and comfort to all students and in particular those who may suffer from additional difficulties engaging at school such as those with learning difficulties and social and emotional disorders.

Christine York, the school’s Guidance Counsellor and Glenda Scrase, school principal, submitted a proposal for a Therapy Dog Pilot Program to Townsville Catholic Education (TCE) in March 2018. With TCE’s support, Christine and her 7-year old Golden Retriever, Marlow have just completed Therapy Dog Training in Brisbane and obtained accreditation through Therapy Dogs Australia.

Christine and Marlow are both at Good Shepherd Catholic School Mondays and Tuesdays each week, and assist students in one-on-one counselling sessions, small group sessions, and class visits. Good Shepherd Catholic School currently has a number of students Marlow will work with, and it is anticipated that Marlow will have a positive impact on their school lives.

“Like most schools, Good Shepherd has a Fully Supported Learning Program for our students have who have difficulties engaging in school for various reasons including social emotional disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder, intellectual and learning disabilities or who have suffered from trauma in their lives. Marlow will be there to help these students feel more comfortable to connect with me, as their guidance counsellor and hopefully have an impact on overall student engagement, learning and social and emotional wellbeing,” says Christine.

Good Shepherd Catholic School Principal, Glenda Scrase is very proud to be one of the first schools in Townsville to have the therapy dog program available to students on a regular basis.

“We are very excited to welcome Marlow to our Good Shepherd family. This is an amazing opportunity for our school community and the students within our school. Research has shown that therapy dogs can promote psychological wellbeing, increase social skills, self-esteem and confidence. The therapy dog will provide emotional support to the children while they engage in learning activities”.

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