Meet the rescue dog that has now become the most popular member of staff at Myton School in Warwick

Willow was rescued by Dogs Trust Kenilworth last year and helps anxious and upset children

Tuesday, 13th October 2020, 5:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th October 2020, 5:24 pm
Willow was rescued by Dogs Trust Kenilworth.
Willow was rescued by Dogs Trust Kenilworth.

A rescue dog has recently become the most popular member of staff at Myton School in Warwick.

Willow was rescued by Dogs Trust Kenilworth last year and was eagerly adopted by Myton’s assistant SENCo, Louise Cleaver.

Louise has had five rescue dogs in the past and was on the lookout for a dog who might be suitable to bring into school.

Willow was rescued by Dogs Trust Kenilworth.

“The benefit of using a school dog to help anxious and upset children is well-documented,” said Louise.

“When I saw that Dogs Trust Kenilworth had some small dogs ready to find their forever homes, I was very keen to have one of them and I made sure I was there nice and early the next morning. By the time they opened the doors, the queue of potential new owners stretched right back across the car park.”

Willow had had a tough time before arriving at Dogs Trust Kenilworth and when Louise first met her she was unresponsive, nervous and untrained but Louise saw her potential. She visited Willow every day, taking her grandchildren with her to get the dog used to mixing with youngsters. Three weeks later, Louise took Willow home and continued her rehabilitation.

After six months Willow was ready to come into school, just as coronavirus struck. During lockdown, Myton School was open to vulnerable students and the children of key workers, and this smaller group actually meant Willow could get used to the school at her own pace. The impact her presence had on the students and staff during the lockdown period was instant and amazing.

Willow with a group of students.

The school is now fully open again and Willow can regularly be seen – on the lead – around the school grounds interacting with the students and in the Learning and Inclusion Centre, where she has her ‘office’. She has a calm and friendly temperament which is perfect for working with the students.

“Willow loves her new ‘job’,” said Louise. “We have to be careful at the moment because of Covid, but I’ve got plans to introduce her to students across the school one year-group bubble at a time. She’s here for everyone’s benefit and I’m keen for all students who want to, to meet her.”

Assistant manager at Dogs Trust Kenilworth, James Ackner, said: “It is always fantastic to hear how our beautiful dogs are settling into their new homes so it was great to hear how happy Willow is and the very special role she has at the school.”

Myton’s assistant SENCo, Louise Cleaver, with Willow.