Halls Head Small Animal Clinic has joined Mandurah Story Dogs in their quest to assist the region’s Year 2 students in improving their literacy skills.
The local veterinary clinic recently sponsored Donny and Puff, two of the volunteer dogs that tour the local schools to help the students.
Story Dogs is a national initiative created in 2009 to assist Year 2 students in improving their literacy levels and spark their interest in reading.
The initiative currently operates in Rockingham, Kwinana, Waroona, Fremantle, South Perth, and Coogee.
As part of the initiative, students who struggle reading can sit with one of the dogs and a volunteer for 20 minutes every week to practice their skills in a non-judgmental space.
“The dog is non-judgmental and doesn’t care when mistakes are made,” Story Dogs Mandurah coordinator Amanda Milroy said.
“The students soon become more confident and this reflects in their raised literacy levels and self-esteem.”
Ms Milroy said the Mandurah branch currently had nine volunteer and dog teams touring seven local schools, but she said they were always looking for more team members.
All volunteers need to have working with children cards and have had training on interacting with children.
The organistion’s dogs need to be fully assessed by an accredited dog assessor.
“As Mandurah coordinator, my aim is to have Story Dogs in every primary school in Mandurah,” she said.
However, in order to achieve that goal, Ms Milroy said the teams also needed to be sponsored by local residents and businesses.
“Sponsorship of dog teams helps to support, maintain and grow the Story Dogs program in and around Mandurah,” she said.
“It’s a fantastic way to support a program that is helping raise literacy levels in our schools and local communities.
“We would love to have all of our Story Dogs sponsored by local and small businesses.”