Poppy the Pastoral Dog

Poppy being taken for a walk by Diana Strange and Hugo Seaford College has enlisted the help of Poppy the German Short Haired Pointer, who supports the Pastoral Team and has had a lot of success in helping students to open up and relax.

Diana Strange, Director of Care and Welfare and Poppy’s owner, said: ‘Pupils find Poppy very soothing. She’s very therapeutic, pupils will often come and find her when they’re stressed, and she really helps to calm them down, as one pupil said, ‘you don’t have to answer to a dog.’

Year 9 student Hugo, who suffers from homesickness, goes on a weekly walk with Poppy. Hugo said: ‘At home, we have a Rhodesian Ridgeback, Elsa, who we walk every day. She always cheers me up. After my first two weeks boarding, I became homesick. I missed my family. I missed Elsa. Then I met Mrs Strange, who introduced me to Poppy.’

Hugo continued: ‘I am always very excited to walk with Poppy and Mrs Strange. Poppy really helps me to relax, and Mrs Strange and I can talk about anything. Poppy helped me bridge the gap between home and school. I really enjoy boarding now, after one and a half terms the other boarders are like my brothers.’Poppy, Diana and Hugo

James Passam, Deputy Head, said: ‘The Pastoral Team offer something truly unique at Seaford. I believe that every houseparent should have a dog.’

The CCF also has its own dog, Hastings, a black Labrador. CCF members visit Hastings during exams, and stroke him to help them calm their nerves. Jackie Kyte, Hastings’ owner, said: ‘It’s just kids and dogs; it’s really good for them.’

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