Story Dogs making a difference for Mandurah Baptist College students


Amanda Milroy and her golden retriever Donny listen while year 2 student Kruz Sewell 7 reads.
Amanda Milroy and her golden retriever Donny listen while year 2 student Kruz Sewell 7 reads.

A NEW international study suggests man’s best friend can promote social skills and boost self-esteem in children.

The study, conducted by the University of Liverpool and the Waltham Centre, finds pet ownership is beneficial for children’s emotional development.

In WA, Story Dogs take trained dogs into schools to help children with reading and learning.

The aim is to make reading fun for children, so they become more confident and have improved literacy skills.

Amanda Milroy is one of those people whose pet is helping children with their reading.

Ms Milroy takes her five-year-old golden retriever Donny to Mandurah Baptist College Primary School once a week where selected students read to him.

She spends about two hours a week at the school where Donny is a much-loved visitor.

Twenty minutes is spent with each child and there is always a few minutes at the end of each session for other Year 2 students to pet Donny.

Assumption Primary School also uses the program.

Story Dogs could use more volunteers.

Ms Milroy said the dogs needed to be generally well mannered, sociable and love kids and undergo a half hour training session with a dog trainer.

She said volunteers needed to commit to at least two terms, visiting on the same day each week for about two hours.

“So many people have loving dogs and if they have the time, it is a good thing to do,’’ she said.

“And Donny loves it.’’

Ms Milroy can be contacted on 0417 993 497.