Morecambe dog teaches kids to read

Droopy the Bassett cross cavalier PAT (Pets As Therapy) and owner Julie Norris from Morecambe regularly go into Trumacar Primary School to read with the children.'5th October 2015

Droopy the Bassett cross cavalier PAT (Pets As Therapy) and owner Julie Norris from Morecambe regularly go into Trumacar Primary School to read with the children.'5th October 2015

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A dog who teaches children to read has become a sensation at a Heysham school.

Loveable Droopy has been helping schoolchildren to learn reading skills at Trumacar Primary.

Julie Norris from Pets As Therapy (PAT) brings her dog Droopy into Trumacar Primary School in Heysham to help children with their reading.'Kelsey gives Droopy a cuddle.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'12-10-2015

Julie Norris from Pets As Therapy (PAT) brings her dog Droopy into Trumacar Primary School in Heysham to help children with their reading.'Kelsey gives Droopy a cuddle. PIC BY ROB LOCK'12-10-2015

The pupils find it easier to read to Droopy than they do to teachers and parents.

Now Droopy, a four-year-old Basset cross, is in the running for a major award.

Paul Slater, head teacher at Trumacar Primary School, said the clever canine has made an “incredible difference” to the children.

Many Trumacar pupils, who enjoy cuddles with Droopy in the classroom, have nominated him to win the Pets As Therapy (PAT) Dog of the Year.

These children, who can find it so hard to share their thoughts and emotions with people, have been able to open up so much more with Droopy and they see him as their friend

Paul Slater, headteacher

“I was entranced by the idea of having a ‘reading dog’ in school to work with some of our more needy children,” said Mr Slater.

“These children, who can find it so hard to share their thoughts and emotions with people, have been able to open up so much more with Droopy and they see him as their friend.”

A Year three pupil at Trumacar said: “I love reading to Droopy.

“I remember the first book I ever read to him. I like it when he falls asleep half way through the story.”

Droopy’s owner Julie Norris, who lives on Mardale Avenue in Morecambe, said: “The children read to Droopy and they think because they are reading so well they are putting him to sleep!

“It is nice to see children developing and growing in confidence.

“One of the pupils said they only ever read to Droopy.”

Dog-lover Julie first came across the Pets as Therapy Read2Scheme whilst at dog show Crufts last year.

Ever since she has been taking Droopy into Trumacar two days a week.

Julie said her beloved pet has also been a saviour to her own life.

“I suffered a spinal injury and was in hospital for quite a while.

“Because of my injuries I couldn’t work as a teacher anymore so this scheme has allowed me to get out and about.

“I wouldn’t get out of bed some days and Droopy has helped me so much and seeing the children so happy makes it worthwhile. I wanted to start giving something back.”

Droopy has also been encouraging kids to read at Unique Kidz & Co, a centre which provides specialist services for disabled children and their families in Morecambe.

Pets As Therapy is a national charity which provides therapeutic visits to hospitals, hospices, nursing and care homes, special needs schools and a variety of other venues by volunteers with their own dogs and cats.

The six finalists of PAT Dog of the Year will be invited to Crufts 2016 where the winner will be announced.

The winner will receive £500 plus a crystal trophy, special rosette and certificate.

Details of how to vote for Droopy are in this month’s Yours magazine.

Or go to www.yours.co.uk/PATDogs.