Research conducted by New, Wilson and Netting (1986) identified that pets are an integral component of the social support network for many individuals with 95% of those surveyed saying that they talk to their pet, 82% identifying that their pet assists them when they are feeling sad and 65% stating that touching their pet makes them feel better. Pets, in particular dogs, have been used in therapy and education situations for a number of years, and their presence has had a number of positive impacts, including helping withdrawn children to talk and participate (Heimlich, 2001), aiding in social and cognitive development of children (Martin and Farnum 2002) and overcoming learning difficulties such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Conduct Disorder and Autism (Scott, Haseman and Hammetter 2005). While there is some research about the educational benefits of dogs in the learning environment, (Jenkins, 2010), there is a need for further research about the impact of dogs in the area of primary education (Friesen, 2010). This paper reports on a case study research project that examines the initial impact on children's creative writing skills, self-editing, sense of self as learners and interactions with others of the Classroom CaninesTM program, introduced in 2011 into two primary school classrooms in northern Australia.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/reesasorin/7/