Introducing Milo, a remarkable Labrador x Golden Retriever, who will be celebrating his second birthday in May. Milo’s upcoming placement as a Therapy Dog in Waikowhai Intermediate School in Auckland is an exciting milestone as he is the first-ever Therapy Dog from Mobility Dogs to be placed in a school setting.

    Milo’s job will encompass three key areas; firstly he will work alongside the schools dedicated team of three teacher aides, where Milo will provide vital support to students in a variety of settings. The Teacher Aides work closely with students, helping them regulate their emotions and providing assistance with their school work. Whether it’s during individual sessions, small group activities, or whole class lessons, Milo will be there to lend a helping paw.

    Another one of Milo’s key roles will be to offer literacy support, helping to create a safe space where children can read to him or work alongside him in their literacy activities. Studies have consistently demonstrated the powerful impact of reading to Therapy Dogs, as it creates a non-judgmental and safe space for students to practice their reading out loud without fear of making mistakes. Having a Therapy Dog like Milo ‘listen’ to them can help to foster a sense of confidence and enjoyment in reading.

    A group of 5 teachers with Milo the Mobility Dog

    David, Uta, Junior, Sue and Andy (from left to right) with Milo – the dog with an important job.

    The School Counsellor at Waikowhai Intermediate does fantastic work with the children, and they believe that incorporating a walk and talk together with Milo or having him as a comforting companion could prove invaluable for some of the students.

    When Milo is not working, he will be living with one of the teachers at the school. This arrangement allows for a deep bond to develop between Milo and the school community, enhancing his impact in the lives of the students.

    School principal, David King recognises the incredible potential of Milo’s role, stating, “I see Milo as a way to not only strengthen the work of the teacher aides, but I believe Milo will eventually become an essential tool in the school counsellors’ kete.”

    “As we continue to work with Milo and get to know our current student cohort better, we will undoubtedly discover new ways in which he can make a positive impact which we are really excited about,” continues David.

    The love and connection that Therapy Dogs bring to schools have been known to help forge stronger relationships between students, teachers, and support staff, as well help to foster a sense of unity and compassion that is invaluable in creating an inclusive and supportive learning environment.

    David remarks that, “Through Milo’s presence and the unique bond he is developing with students, we can already see the potential for positive change. He brings comfort, support, and companionship, encouraging the students to embrace their educational journey with confidence and resilience.”

    Other local schools are buzzing with excitement as news spreads of Milo’s placement, they are showing signs of interest and even a tinge of envy. Milo’s pioneering role will hopefully pave the way for more Therapy Dogs to make a difference in schools, providing practical assistance, emotional support, and companionship to students throughout New Zealand.

    As Milo embarks on his new role, we wish him all the best in this exciting chapter of his journey and we can’t wait hear about the impact he has on the lives of the students and teachers at Waikowhai Intermediate School.