Dog lessons at Portlaoise Educate Together

Portlaoise Dogs Trust spent a week recently at Portlaoise Educate Together, to show the children how to care for dogs

Dog lessons at Portlaoise Educate Together
By Lynda Kiernan lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie@laoisnews

Magic the education dog visited Portlaoise Educate Together NS all last week, to teach the children how to be a good dog owner.

His minder Paul Cleary is Education Officer for the Midlands and works with the Dogs' Trust, and they were invited to the school by teacher Rozz Lewis.

“I came up with the idea as I love dogs and cats and always encourage the children to be kind and gentle to all living things,” she said.

“ It has been wonderful to have Paul and Magic in our school for the whole week. Dogs' Trust is a worthy charity that work hard at helping the public to care for their dogs. If we get in early with our children, when they grow up, they will be responsible dog owners,” said Rozz.

The children quickly picked up their lessons.

“They said things like 'dogs are not toys so we should not get a dog for Christmas', and "we know how to pet a dog now',” their teacher said.

“As a teacher I know that children really benefit from having a visitor to the class as they really enjoy a new face.

“It was even better for the children to have a real-life dog to visit the classroom as Paul was able to use Magic to role-play the correct way to handle and approach a dog in real-life. Making things as near to life as possible is important for the children's learning and Paul used lots of fun and varied activities,” she said.

Paul and Heather from Dog's Trust visited every class in the school.

“We had great fun and they learned lots of new information. Thanks to Paul and Heather and of course, Magic,” said the teacher.

Paul Cleary took up his post last year.

“Dogs Trust have a relatively new presence in Laois. I’ve been the midlands Education and Community Officer since May of last year,” he said.

With his education dog “Magic”, they have received a great welcome in Laois schools they have visited so far.

“We have had a fantastic reaction from the schools we visited so far. Our aim is to pass on the message of responsible dog ownership, to the dog owners of the future, and to try and cut down on the amount of unwanted, and stray dogs across Ireland. We also place an emphasis on safety around dogs.” Paul Cleary said.

For doggy tips from the Education and Community team see their website at www.learnwithdogstrust.ie