(UK) Derbyshire: School adds dog "to improve pupils' mental health..."

July 5, 2018, Derbyshire Telegraph: 'He's a school treasure' - Winston the dog comes on leaps and bounds at Pingle Academy Pingle Academy's resident celebrity dog has been welcoming new pupils as they prepare to move to secondary school in September. Winston, a Jack Russell terrier and Chihuahua cross bred, joined the secondary school in Coronation Street in January and has been there since helping pupils in a bid to help shy pupils come out of their shells. He has been brought into the school to improve pupils' mental health and to encourage children who have a history of being absent to go to school. … Over the past few days the adorable canine has been meeting more than 200 year six students, aged 10 and 11, who will be joining from primary school in September, as they get to know the academy. Winston has been waiting for children from primary schools across Swadlincote and South Derbyshire to arrive with his tail wagging and ready to go, said a spokesman…. Staff say the pupils having a visit beforehand can make it much less stressful when the new term starts in September - particularly for pupils who might be the only one from their school…. Mr Hurst has started new sessions for youngsters who work with the dog, called Walking with Winston. The hour-long sessions allow a pupil to take Winston for a walk around the school site while talking about what is bothering them in a more relaxed environment than a classroom…. They can also improve the lives of people suffering from debilitating mental and physical health conditions and illnesses such as autism by including animal assisted interventions.