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School dog sparks online canine crazeJanuary 25th, 2016
Canine companions have given boarding schools across the country something to bark about on Twitter this week after a mutt from Monmouth inspired a new hashtag.
Thanks to a picture of Humphrey, a cocker spaniel who lives at Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls, being retweeted by the Boarding Schools’ Association, furry friends from near and far have been thrust into the spotlight.
The BSA’s hashtag, #boardinghousedogs, encouraged schools to share adorable photos and fun facts about the pets who are helping to create a family environment for boarders.
Rabbits and guinea pigs have also joined in on the fun.
Julie Ann Morse, who owns pooches Bernard and Lucy, is housemistress at HMSG’s Augusta House for sixth formers.
She said: “It’s been so much fun to see all of the boarding house dogs on Twitter – and it’s great to see school pets’ positive impact highlighted.
“Being housemistress of a sixth form boarding house with 50 plus female residents is never dull.
“Each day can bring a range of emotions, be it examination pressure, a friendship issue or missing selection to your chosen team.
“In addition to the range of coping strategies that we encourage the girls to develop, we have found that one of the best ways to reduce stress and increase happiness has been the calming and constant presence of the house dogs, Bernard and Lucy.
“The dogs are always happy to see the girls, never judge their behaviour and are willing to sit patiently, listening to all their worries and concerns.”
There are 11 dogs in residence at HMSG, with four in particular having plenty of contact with the girls.
Tilly the springer spaniel, who lives in New House at Monmouth School, has also been a hit on Twitter.
“Stroking a dog is an extremely calming experience and the companionship of a dog, snuggling up to the girls when they are feeling down, really makes a difference to their mood,” Julie Ann added.
“Having dogs in the house makes it seem more homely and the girls look forward to seeing the dogs when they arrive home after a busy day at school.
“Greeting the dogs is one of the first things some girls do when they come in to the house. They have an extremely therapeutic role for certain boarders who take the opportunity to walk them as a way to relax and exercise.
“They truly are a vital component of the experience that the girls enjoy during their time in Augusta House.”