Elizabeth first realised the value of support dogs in classrooms five years ago.
“We had a little fella called Hugo who wouldn’t read aloud,” she says, “so we brought Ted in – and we found that Hugo would read to him.”
Hugo’s Mum says Ted’s Space has helped her son immensely.
“I actually credit Hugo staying in school for the first two years to Elizabeth and Ted,” she says.
“Without them, Hugo would have not been here today - Ted is the only thing that keeps him at school.”
The last couple of years, with Covid-19 causing widespread school disruption, have seen the need for services like Ted’s Space increase, Elizabeth says.
“It’s absolutely massive how the anxiety level has increased in many of these students, post-COVID,” she says.
“It really rocked the world of probably the most vulnerable students - those students that were already a little anxious – it just turned the dial up for them.
“Students were leaving, moving, being sick, and classes get merged together because there were no staff.”
During the lockdowns, Teddy did video calls with students – a virtual visit from a friendly face.
“I think having Ted is that consistency for them - if they know he’s there, they feel safer,” Elizabeth says.
Pinehaven School teacher Patricia Hvid says, for students who may have suffered trauma of various kinds, Ted, Willow and Daisy provide a “calm and accepting presence”.