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  1 month ago

ABC News: Good News Thursday. Gold Coast school students struggling with anxiety and depression say the introduction of a cocker spaniel therapy puppy named Luna has been life changing.
30/11/2021. (Photo)

Greig Bradley, Varsity College's deputy head of school support and learning, had the idea to bring a toilet-trained pet into the school's classrooms.It has been two weeks since the program started at the college's Wellbeing Centre and "Luna love" has proved a runaway success.

"She has already changed lives, which is amazing," Ms Bradley said.

"We had a lot of students who were school refusing who have now been here every day. We have students who have significant anxiety and depression who come down and see her every day.

"She reads kids very well. She knows who needs that extra cuddle already at 12 weeks [of age]."

Teachers have reported that lessons are quieter and better behaved when Luna is there, especially as the pup typically goes to sleep or sits on a student's lap.

"We run her pretty hard in the lunch hour so she's pretty calm in session," Ms Bradley said.

"The minute we arrive at school she struts. She knows this is her turf.

"Not every dog is built for this job, to be around so many students."

Luna was bred by a staff member but goes home to the Bradley household each afternoon.

The students were asked to agree to puppy care contracts and respect the puppy-safe places, including an impressive puppy penthouse where Luna can go for alone time.

Grade 7 student Annastacia Stewart said having Luna has been a life-changing experience.

"Now I know she's here I'm not as anxious anymore," she said.

One the places off-limits to Luna is the classrooms of three students who have dog allergies.

"One of my staff came in this morning and she was a bit upset. Luna knew that she needed extra cuddles," Ms Bradley said.

Luna will begin formal therapy training in March.

Great idea as we sometimes forget the influence of animals in children's lives. We know it helps the elderly. Well done to this school for initiating this...there can only be good result one would expect.

Comments if you wish.


  1 month ago
A beautiful story B and having been around therapy dogs at schools they make such a difference in the lives of children, staff and all who come in contact with them. Animals brighten up the day in such a special and lovely way. Reply


  1 month ago
Yes a little dog like Luna would definitely cheer me up and help with my anxiety and other issues. Reply


  1 month ago
Well she would cheer me up. Reply

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