HELPING PAW: Lowood High School's Head of Special Education Sherree Soanes with Jackson, the School's new therapy dog.
HELPING PAW: Lowood High School's Head of Special Education Sherree Soanes with Jackson, the School's new therapy dog. Francis Witsenhuysen

Lowood High's new therapy dog helps students

A LUCKY black Labrador named Jackson defied the odds and escaped certain death to become Lowood High School's new therapy dog.

Jackson's story of survival is a heart-warming one.

Lowood High School's Head of Special Education Sherree Soanes said he was picked up abandoned in Griffith, New South Wales around Christmas time.

"They don't keep the dogs very long at the pound and he was to be euthanised,” Ms Soanes said.

"But the pound ranger sent out word to his networks to see if anyone would take him.

"Animal Rescue Queensland said they'd take him, but the pound didn't get the email.”

In a miscommunication, Animal Rescue Queensland was told it was too late to take Jackson because the vet was already on their way to euthanise him.

"Animal Rescue rang up anyway in case he hadn't been euthanised yet and thankfully he hadn't,” Ms Soanes said,

"So transport was arranged and he came up to us.

"He was assessed by the Police Dog Squad, and just finished his training three weeks ago."

Jackson's role in the school is to work with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) students and students with anxiety.

"Therapy dogs are proven to work very well with these students,” Ms Soanes said.

"His main aim is to help those kids, so when he is brought to school he will have a time-table and students will be allocated to work with him.

"They will sit with him, pat him, brush him and have time out with him. The interaction helps them.”

When he's working, Jackson will interact with the students' one on one or in small groups.

Ms Soanes said students with behaviour management issues also benefit from interacting with Jackson.

"Research has shown when therapy dogs are put in the classroom students levels of behaviour drop,” she said.

Ms Soanes said the students were responding very positively to Jackson.

"We have seen such a change with some of the students, by some that won't even talk to you,” she said

"Jackson is definitely helping the kids' confidence.”