WHETHER it was puppy eyes or pupil power, children at St Lawrence School in Horncastle and campus dog Poppet are on their way to London after winning the hearts of the Scruffts judges last week at the Lincolnshire Show.
Not many children are lucky enough to have a dog at school with them, but the children at St Lawrence School, a special school for children with moderate learning difficulties, find that Poppet is a calming influence and helps aid concentration.
Judges of the Child’s Best Friend class at a heat of the Scruffts Family Crossbreed of the Year competition were impressed by the amazing way that Poppet helps children at the school and the special relationship between the students and the dog.
After winning first place in last week’s competition, the school’s vocational teacher, Jill Newby said: “I am thrilled with the thought of Poppet’s kind friendly nature being recognised outside of school.
“The children say she is now walking round the playground with an extra spring in her tail.
“Poppet is a big part of the school, being an invaluable distraction for frustrated or upset students.
She is just as enthusiastic at the end of the day for another walk round the field or cuddle as she is first thing in the morning.
“During lessons she flops down in a classroom - science and ICT being her favourite spots.
“She also joins the children in the school animal unit where keeping an eye on the rabbits and guinea pigs is one of her pastimes - that’s when a rather strong willed duck is not chasing her.
“Sarah Brown, one of the students with Poppet at the Lincolnshire Show, summed our thoughts up when she said ‘I’m glad Poppet won, but we would still love her if even if she hadn’t’.“
Jill, Poppet and the children of St Lawrence School are now set to travel to London this November to take place in the Scruffts final at Discover Dogs in Earls Court.
Last year, celebrity judges Kate Silverton, David Spinx and Marc Abraham chose ten–year–old Grace Brown-Griffin as the overall winner of the competition.
Like Poppet, Grace’s dog Merlin is a calming influence as Grace is autistic and has ADHD and finds it difficult to concentrate or to deal with stressful situations without Merlin.
The Scruffts Family Crossbreed of the Year competition is run in support of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which has donated more than £5 million worth of grants to benefit the canine world since its inception in 1987.
Through its grants programme, the Kennel Club Charitable Trust funds a wide variety of work ranging from scientific and research grants to welfare initiatives, all of which are giving dogs healthier and happier lives.
To find out more about Scruffts, please visit www.scruffts.org.uk.