We’re getting back to visiting schools and undertaking virtual read2dogs sessions

We’ve adapted our services and are delighted to be launching the new and improved Pets As Therapy #Read2Dogs Service with funding from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by the National Community Fund.

This new and exciting way to deliver our read2dogs volunteer service during these unprecedented times serves as a safe alternative to physically visiting schools. This will mean that PAT read2dogs volunteers can return to visiting – even if they are not able to actually enter school premises.

A big thank you to the National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for supporting #PetsAsTherapy!

National Lottery Community Fund Logo

How it works

Many people are apprehensive about speaking in public. It can be very daunting. Young people are no different. Research shows that young people can become nervous and stressed when reading to others in a group. The body becomes flooded with stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol and our brains enter the ‘fight, flight or flee state’. However, when a behaviourally assessed PAT Dog enters the room, many young people experience a calming sensation – and often feel less stressed, less self-conscious and more confident. Dogs are non-judgemental and their presence can really help people to relax. Our PAT volunteers witness that before long, young people are starting to look forward to the reading experience and to spending time with their new friend, the PAT Dog! PAT Dogs provide comfort, encourage positive social behaviours, enhance self-esteem, motivate speech and inspire young people to have fun. Teachers should always remain in control of the reading sessions. The students are identified by their parents or teachers as those who would benefit most from this intervention; it’s often young people who may lack confidence, have difficulty with reading or have different abilities such as ADHD or Autism. The teacher chooses and provides appropriate books; and it is suggested that the sessions for each young person should last no longer than 15 minutes.

How you can help with your registered PAT Dog

If you are an existing R2D volunteer: Please do let the office know that you would like to return to visiting either in person at your school or via the new virtual service. You will be asked to complete a new PAT 7 agreement and have this signed by your establishment also before you can return to visiting

If you are an existing volunteer but have not experienced R2D before: Please notify the office of your interest in the service. You can also view the Virtual R2D training video on our YouTube channel.

Virtual R2D Training Video

If you are new to Pets As Therapy or considering joining us as a volunteer team:

please do take a look at the website, follow us on social media and you can Register Here:

Register Your Interest Here

Are you a school wanting a visit?

If your school would like to register to receive a PAT dog team whether a traditional in-person visit or indeed virtually then please do Register Here

(There will be an annual administration charge of £60 to cover the increased costs associated with this service).

Register Your School Here

Helpful Hints and Tips for PAT Teams

  • If your PAT Dog falls asleep, tell the student he is just closing his eyes so he can concentrate on the story.
  • If your PAT Dog becomes active, tell them “Look, Buster is really enjoying you reading to him”.
  • At the end of the session they should have the opportunity to stroke the dog. This is a BIG Reward.
Request a Read2Dogs visit