Animals in School

At Pond Meadow we strive to enrich pupils experiences by having animals in school. We have a range of our own animals including two small therapy dogs, guinea pigs and Giant African Land Snails. They provide real life experiences of how to care for animals and build relationships. We also have a larger visiting therapy dog. Other animals come on site inlcuding Icarus the tortoise and a mobile farm for part of Pet Care for Careers Day. Find out more about them all below:

Pond Meadow Therapy Dogs

We have 3 dogs undergoing PAWS (People and Animal Well-Being Services) Therapy Training at Pond Meadow: Maddie, Pepper and Jax. They are all at different stages of training. We have signed up to the PAWS Schools Programme whihc is ongoing and provides us with termly supervision visits.

The reason we have 3 dogs is so that they do not become over tired and to support their well-being. Our pupils absolutely love being with the dogs so we also need to make sure there are enough of them so everyone can benefit!

Find out more about them below and look out for them on the school gate:

Maddie joined Pond Meadow as a full-time member of the team at the end of April 2023 and was our first therapy dog. She loves playing with her ball and zooming around the meado . We learnt quite quickly that for our large pupil population we needed more than one dog to ensure she did not become over tired.


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Pepper joined Pond Meadow in May 2023 and is a very lively young dog. She also loves running on the meadow and playing hide and seek.

Pepper to use 1

Pepper to use 2

Jax joined us in September 2023 and has already made great friends with Maddie. It also really nice to have a male dog join the team. 

Jax to use 1

Jax to use 2

Snowy and Doughnut the Guinea Pigs

Our guinea pigs provide our pupils with opportunities to complete independent, functional tasks (cleaning, feeding, caring for) which they understand the purpose of. We use communication boards to discuss the guinea pigs, which is a highly motivating. Snowy and Doughnut also provide therapeutic benefit by supporting emotional regulation and pupils from around the school come and spend time with them for this very reason. They are a great addition to the school and the students thrive having the additional responsibility of care.


Finlay the Visiting Therapy Dog

On Wednesday afternoons our two sensory classes, Robins and Primrose have a special visitor, Finlay. Finlay is a registered therapy dog through 'Pets As Therapy' and he visits with his owner Jonathan. Finlay spends 30 minutes in each class, pupils are given the opportunity to throw balls, stroke and walk him. The pupils enjoy their weekly sessions and anticipate his arrival. During the sessions they feel calm, gain confidence, and give fantastic responses when interacting with Finlay. 

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Garlic and Butter the Giant African Snails

Giant African Land Snails Garlic and Butter live in the Lower School. Their names were chosen by class vote. The pupils enjoy caring for and interacting with them and their favourite food is cucumber!

Snail Vote

Snail being held

Occasional Visitor Icarus the Tortoise

The children really love spending time with Icarus who belongs to our Deputy Headteacher Rebecca. He very much enjoys his holidays to Pond Meadow. He proved to be a very big hit with all the pupils who met and held him on his first visit in January 2022.

Icarus 2

Icarus 1