Lowood State High School year 8 student Talija Sajkar, with Jackson the therapy dog. PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL
Lowood State High School year 8 student Talija Sajkar, with Jackson the therapy dog. PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL

How a school turned an unwanted dog into most loved student

JACKSON isn't your typical school student.

But his four legs, fluffy coat and slobbery smile make him the most loved member of the Lowood State High School community.

However, the black Labrador hasn't had the easiest journey.

Jackson is a rescue dog, and he was moments away from being euthanised before his life changed in 2015.

He went through months of training and accreditation to become Lowood's loved asset, helping students, and even staff at the school.

Jackson's owner, deputy principal Sherree Soanes, said the Labrador's role as a therapy dog had been a huge asset to the school.

 

Lowood State High School year 8 student Talija Sajkar, with Jackson the therapy dog, and deputy principal Sherree Soanes. PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL
Lowood State High School year 8 student Talija Sajkar, with Jackson the therapy dog, and deputy principal Sherree Soanes. PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL

 

"He has that calming effect on everyone. Parent's have actually asked for him to work with their children, specially children that are anxious to come into the school grounds," Mrs Soanes said.

Jackson is the first accredited school therapy dog in the metro region and has been an ambassador for the school in promoting his work.

 

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He participates in anything school related - from Anzac Day parades to workshops on the Gold Coast, where the school highlights the benefit of a therapy dog.

If students need extra support, Jackson is there, and he also visits teachers for a pat.

Even with coronavirus, Jackson was affected because he couldn't come to school.

 

Lowood State High School year 8 student Talija Sajkar, with Jackson the therapy dog. PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL
Lowood State High School year 8 student Talija Sajkar, with Jackson the therapy dog. PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL

 

"When we told the students that we were returning to normal classes, the first question that was sung out from the crowd was 'does that mean Jackson can come back to class'," Mrs Soanes said.

Jackson is a part-time student, attending Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and wears a special jacket to indicate he's on the job.

"He's so versatile in who he supports and the outcomes of support he gives to people," Mrs Soanes said.

When he is here, he's on call for whoever needs him."

Mrs Soanes said the procedures and accreditation to have a therapy dog at school were worth it.

"It's a process to go through, but its well worth it to get the dog into the school," she said.

Follow Gatton Star editor Ali Kuchel on Facebook here


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