“Wellbeing for California Gully Primary School is an area for consistent development and the goals of Dogs Connect aligned perfectly with our current initiatives. Like all schools a continual focus of all children being ‘ready to learn’ sets up positive experiences for all at school. Working with Grant to further develop and build strategies for individual students, classes and our wider community underpins our connection with Dogs Connect. We recognise the need to build authentic experiences for all and strongly believe that Dogs Connect will significantly support this goal.”

Andrew Frawley, Principal, California Gully Primary School

“It’s not just about bringing a dog into the classroom, it goes to a much deeper level than that. The benefits to students and staff have been extraordinary.”

Tim Moloney, Principal, St Francis Primary School, Strathfieldsaye.

“I had been working one on one with a young man in Grade 5 who was continually displaying harmful behaviours and was disengaged from his classroom.  I had heard about Grant’s work with Sonny and arranged for the young man and I to visit the school to spend some time with them.  Grant spent over half the day with this boy and with Sonny.  The result after such a short time was truly amazing. The young fella made a poster about Sonny and presented it to the class – it was the very first time he had stood up in front of this own class.”

Anna Garlick, Wellbeing Worker, St Peter’s Primary School, Bendigo.

“In our classrooms we like our kids to be likeable and independent and to do that, we need to work on social and emotional wellbeing. As far as developing leadership, communication and collaboration, our dog Sonny, has definitely helped with all of this.”

Grace Scholora, Wellbeing Coordinator, St Francis Primary School, Strathfieldsaye.

“At Holy Rosary Primary School Heathcote, learning, teaching and the well-being of our students, staff and parents is absolutely paramount for our school to improve and grow. Although very early into the program we are already experiencing positive impacts of having ‘Bridie’ at our school thanks to the guidance and expertise of Grant and Sonny. The students are understanding very quickly the expectations and we are excited to see how this innovative program will enhance the positive culture of our community.”

Paul Dullard, Principal, Holy Rosary Primary School, Heathcote.

“Various studies, as well as anecdotal evidence through my clinic, have demonstrated the positive effects that stem from people’s relationships with dogs, including children, the elderly, as well as those with mental health problems.  Benefits include, but are not limited to: improved physical functioning, lowered stress levels, increased concentration and emotional regulation, improved social behaviour and increased social interaction.  Dogs can provide emotional support for people through their calm demeanours, friendly non-judgemental attitudes, and sensitivity to human emotions. They can also offer children the feeling of security and comfort, providing a friend to bond with. It is wonderful to hear of Grant’s expansion of his Dogs Connect Program.  I have been fortunate to personally and professionally know children who have benefitted from having Grant and his dog (Sonny) in their classrooms.”

Aaron Grieves, Clinical Psychologist, AWG Psychology.