Meet the Animals
Dorin Park has a number of different animals in school: rabbits, guinea pigs, fish, and a school dog. Our pupils work with the animals as part of a holistic education programme and our older students have the chance to study animal care more formally. Animal Care is a popular choice at college for our school leavers.
We have two tanks. The tank in the foyer was funded by an ex-pupil and is maintained by Aqualease. Pupils use this tank as part of holistic therapies and love watching the fish. We have a much larger tank, maintained by the students as part of their Animal Care studies, in the Community Resource Centre.
The Small Animals
We are home to three guinea pigs: Poppy, Daisy and Flossie. And to two rabbits: Hazel and Tilly.
They have their own purpose built enclosures, and staff who care for them – with the help of our children, of course.
The School Dog
Our school dog, Bramble, is a Flatcoated Retriever. He is now a year old and has been with us since he was 14 weeks old. Look at the difference in size!
Bramble is only a year old so he is still completing his training but he is now working with most age groups through the school. He works with class groups or one-to-one. Eventually Bramble will be trained in disability support e.g. helping with daily tasks, but he is very good at providing canine therapy for pupils who need that. Bramble has his own timetable and is also on call if needed but he has regular off-duty time in Mrs Hughes’s office. As a Flatcoat, he is very sociable and people-orientated. He also has a high energy level and loves to be working.
- Running around outside
- Training treats
- Being a little bit cheeky
Bramble doesn’t like:
- Going to the vets, even though he actually likes the people there
- The foyer floor, because he slipped over on it and banged his face when he was a puppy
- Food with gluten because it upsets his tummy
Our children gain something very important from working with and being around the animals. Many of our children find communication more challenging than children in mainstream schools and being with the animals is very therapeutic for them – animals don’t make judgements about your verbal communication! For our younger pupils, being taught how to handle animals and show empathy and safe behaviour towards them helps our families with life at home. Knowing your child has been explicitly taught to be safe around animals makes it much easier to take them out to places where they may come across animals, and teaching them to have empathy makes it easier for the family to have a pet at home.