Scroll to content
School Logo

Applebee Wood Community Specialist School

Respect, Belonging, Trust, Resilience, Aspiration

Our Therapy Dogs - Buddy and Willow

Introducing Buddy and Willow!

We are Buddy and Willow and we can't wait to meet you! We love to spend time with children and will help you in any way we can! We love to be read to and to go for walks. The staff at Applebee Wood will introduce us to you when you are ready to meet us and will help to make sure you understand how to look after us. We also love to spend time with the staff!

Introducing our fabulous dogs

We are lucky to have 2 dogs in our school, Buddy and Willow. Buddy is a  cavapoo (a cross between a cavalier and a poodle) and Willow is a labrador, who are both in training to become school therapy dogs. Since joining us, Buddy and Willow have become an integral part of our school community. They have already completed dog training classes and in January, will be starting Therapy Dog Training. Buddy will be doing Autism Assistance Training through Therapy Dog Training UK. Buddy will work with pupils on a 1:1 basis. Willow will be doing the PAWS Therapy Dog Training. Willow will be able to spend time with individual pupils and in classes, where all pupils have permission to be with her. Both dogs will have in-person assessments in school once they have completed their training. We will keep you updated with how the training is going. Whilst Willow and Buddy are undergoing therapy dog training, they will only come into school 2 days a week. This is to ensure the training can be carried out by one handler only, to avoid confusion for the dogs.


Latest News about Willow and Buddy!

Both Willow and Buddy are enrolled on their therapy dog training courses and are looking forward to sharing with you what they learn!


What a difference a year makes! Have a look at Willow's Christmas photo from last year (See above)!


Willow will be joining in Christmas jumper day and she hopes you will too! She also has her Christmas outfit ready for party day on Wednesday!


What are the benefits of having a dog in school? 

Multiple research studies have shown the benefits of therapy dogs in schools. Evidence indicates that benefits include: 

  • Increased attendance 

  • Emotional – a school dog improves self-esteem, acceptance from others and lifts mood, often provoking laughter and fun. Dogs can also teach compassion and respect for other living things as well as relieving anxiety.  

  • Social – a dog provides a positive mutual topic for discussion, encourages responsibility, wellbeing and focused interaction with others 

  • Physical – interaction with a furry friend reduces blood pressure, provides tactile stimulation, assists with pain management, and gives motivation to exercise.  

  • Environmental – a dog in a school increases the sense of a family environment, with all of the above benefits continuing long after the school day is over. 

  • Reading – reading to dogs has been proven to help children develop literacy skills and build confidence, through both the calming effect the dog’s presence has on children as well as the fact that a dog will listen to children read without being judgemental or critical.  


Questions or concerns you may have 

My child is allergic to dogs 

It is understandable that some of you may be concerned about possible allergic reactions to a school dog. However, Buddy and Willow will be subjected to thorough cleanliness and grooming regimes.  Parental permission will be sought in advance of Buddy and Willow having access to, and working with, your child in school. 

Will Buddy and Willow be properly cared for? 

Buddy and Willow are extremely well looked after. Buddy lives with Mrs Padgeon and her family and Willow lives with Mrs Nickeas and her family and will come to school most days but will stay safely in Mrs Padgeon's and Miss Elliot's office until satisfactory training has been completed. They will then, in time, spend time with the children in a controlled setting and will always be accompanied by a trained adult.  Whilst Buddy and Willow are in school they will have access to a dog crate in the offices where they can relax during the day. This is where they will spend most of their time initially. They will visit the vet regularly for all their injections as well as regular check-ups. If Buddy or Willow are unwell for any reason they will stay at home. 

My child is scared of dogs 

Some children may have had upsetting experiences and thus have a fear of dogs or other animals. Buddy and Willow will only be in contact with children whose parents have given their permission. On the permission document (see below), it asks if children have phobias, pfears or allergies. However, Buddy and Willow's training will help them to be calm and gentle around children; they are already showing signs of a very loving and gentle nature. Buddy and Willow have recently been helping to welcome the children in from their transport in the mornings, many stopping to give him a quick scratch or pet. Experience and research have shown that, with proper guidance and handling, children can learn to overcome their fear of animals and grow in respect and appreciation for them. 

The school has a ‘no dogs’ policy 

Our school does have a ‘no dogs’ policy, however, because Buddy and Willow are training to be therapy dogs, specific rules will apply to them and them alone. They will be on a lead at all times when moving around the school property and will always be accompanied by a trained adult. Buddy and Willow will also be fully insured to carry out their role, thus allowing them to be on the school site. 


We hope you will join us in welcoming Buddy and Willow to the Applebee Wood family and embrace all that they have to offer the school. 

How we introduced Willow and Buddy to the pupils

The pupils were introduced to Willow and Buddy in assemblies. They then had weekly "pudates" in assembly and on the newsletter, until they were able to come into school.