Home Page

Our Lady of Hartley Catholic Primary SchoolTogether in faith, love and learning…

Home Page

Our Lady of Hartley Catholic Primary School Together in faith, love and learning…

Our School Dog

Meet Whitby



My name is Whitby and I am the Our Lady of Hartley School Dog (a very important job). 

My role as school dog is challenging and varied but I feel that I am more than up to the task. Numerous research studies have shown the benefits of dogs in schools. Therapy dogs have been working in schools across the UK for the past 5 years. However, they have been commonplace in schools in the USA and Australia for many years now. Evidence indicates that areas of potential benefits include:


• Cognitive development – companionship with a dog stimulates memory, problem-solving, game-playing and can improve reading skills.

• Emotional development – a school dog improves self-esteem, acceptance from others and lifts mood, often provoking laughter and fun. Dogs can also teach compassion and respect for other living things as well as relieving anxiety.

• Physical development – interaction with a pet reduces blood pressure, provides tactile stimulation, assists with pain management, gives motivation to move, walk and stimulates the senses.

• Environmental benefits – a dog in a school contributes towards the creation of home style environment, with all of the above benefits continuing long after the school day is over.

• Social benefits – a dog provides a positive mutual topic for discussion, encourages responsibility, wellbeing, developing social skills and focused interaction with others.


But what will my role as school dog at Our Lady of Hartley entail? (HA! Tail! You get it?) During school hours I will have a challenging and ever-changing job. I will be spending a lot of time helping Mrs Glennon with a variety of interventions including: listening ear (and as everybody knows, dogs can hear a lot better than humans); LEGO therapy and drawing therapy. I will be joining Reception class when they take part in Forest School adventures. After some training, I will work as a reading dog where I will listen to children reading me stories and answering questions. Sometimes, I may join a class for a lesson or two if it will enrich the experience in some way.


At the moment, I am getting used to the school environment. I am learning: how to greet people and where and when I can play. I am spending a lot of time in the Family Liaison Office and the Headteacher’s Office whilst I am introduced to school life slowly.


I am a cockapoo, a cross between a cocker spaniel and a poodle. This means that I do not shed fur, making it highly unlikely that anyone will be allergic to me.


I plan on keeping my section of the website up-to-date with comments and photographs documenting my time in school.


If you have any further questions regarding my role within the school please request to see me in person or contact the school office on 01474 706385 or by email at:


Dear All,

As you know, I absolutely love it when children come and read to me. Hearing lots of stories allows me to visit hundreds of different places, meet thousands of characters and find out lots of new information without even having to leave the comfort of my warm room!

So why not come and read a story to me soon?


Lots of love,


Whitby in Darford Messenger

Snow comes to Our Lady of Hartley


Dear All,

This Saturday (10th December 2017) saw the first snowfall of the winter. Snow always cheers me up because it makes you look at everything with fresh eyes - also, it's great fun.


I thought I would take the opportunity to snap some photographs so that you could all enjoy the snow before the rain stole it away. However, at the time of writing, (lunchtime on Monday 11th December) it has started to snow again!


Lots of love,




Still image for this video


Still image for this video

Whitby writing to Father Christmas

Whitby - Christmas jumper day

Visit from the Dogs Trust


We were extremely fortunate to receive a visit from Jo at the Dogs Trust. Jo delivered workshops to all year groups and gave lots of fantastic advice on how to behave around dogs. My favourite piece of advice was about what to do if a dog jumps up – simply cross your arms, turn around and look up. Jo even went into detail as to why dogs jump – they are usually trying to smell something (although I jump up sometimes when I get over excited or when I REALLY want a treat).


Another good piece of advice was to ask the owner of a dog for permission to stroke them BEFORE you do it. Furthermore, to ask the owner WHERE the dog likes to be stroked as some dogs liked to be stroked in different places. Personally, I like to be stroked anywhere!


I have attached some photographs of the event and some information posters that the Dogs Trust left for us.


Check my page for more updates soon,




Whitby meets Aoife

Today I got to meet Miss Begley's lovely daughter Aoife. Is it my imagination or is that the look of a future headteacher?

Lots of love,


Dear All,

Thanks to the kind and caring parents who took me out for a walk on Monday morning. Mrs Richardson, Ms Cleaverly and Mrs Marttila took me for a lovely long stretch of my legs. It was fun meeting new friends and it really made me feel like a welcome part of the school community.

Although I did get called a mucky pup by Ms Begley.

Lots of love,