Something for the weekend: North Leamington School (NLS) has hired a furry faculty member to help improve the mental health of both staff and students.
Five month old cockapoo Lulu (pictured) joined the team at NLS in October 2019, and is currently enrolled in an eight-month training programme to become an accredited therapy dog.
By introducing a therapy dog, NLS aims to help students and school staff improve their mental health and overall wellness by reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and improving social wellbeing.
The breed of cockapoo was chosen due to its friendly and sociable nature, as well as the low risk of allergic reaction, therefore ensuring that Lulu’s presence will not adversely affect the wellbeing of staff with allergies to dogs.
Lulu’s arrival was announced to the school during a teacher training day at the beginning of term in October, when she was introduced as a new staff member. She then went on to visit all departments and offices as part of her induction.
NLS staff are able to cuddle Lulu as she does her daily rounds throughout the school, and can be deployed at strategic moments to ease particular moments of stress, such as a recent Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) inspection.
Lulu’s own work perks include a breakout space in the student support office, with access to a bed and toys, as well as food and water. She also gets accommodation with her handler, as well as regular health checks. To ensure her own health and wellbeing is well looked after, Lulu will benefit from regular exercise sessions throughout the day.
Claire Biggadike, business communications manager at NLS, told Employee Benefits: “Lulu has been welcomed so enthusiastically by all staff members who see her as a pure delight, and it is wonderful to see her bring such joy and smiles to staff each day as she walks past. Many staff look for ways of integrating her into our school way of life, such as helping with charity events. She has her own staff badge and staff lead and has even signed her own contract of employment!”
Here at Employee Benefits, we think the idea of having a cockapoo coworker is paw-fect. We wish Lulu luck with her training, and wonder whether she might be interested in a secondment to our central London offices…