Maggie: St. Bernard's Primary Wellbeing Dog

Meet Maggie

We are excited to announce that we are about to launch the Dogs Connect program at St. Bernard’s Primary School. This is a whole school wellbeing program which will see the introduction of a wellbeing dog in our community. Our school wellbeing dog will become a much loved and important member of our community.

The Dogs Connect program will support St Bernard’s in implementing this very gradually, thoroughly, and considerately. At this stage we encourage anyone who would like to know more about this program to look through the website link below:

We are very excited to introduce our newest staff member MAGGIE, our wellbeing dog to the St Bernard’s community. She is a Groodle breed and was born on the 2nd January 2023 and is living with the Symons family. Maggie has begun her training to become St. Bernard’s Primary School Wellbeing Dog. Maggie begins her important work with the students, staff and parents of St. Bernard’s in April.

We would also like to assure the community that this program will not involve anyone who does not wish to be involved. We know that this work will have a really positive impact on many people in our community, and we acknowledge and respect that connection with Maggie will be offered on a great variety of levels.


Evidence shows that just by being near a dog when stressed can reduce anxiety. In one of our surveys, 92% of students said they felt more relaxed during teaching and learning time when there was a dog in the classroom. We all know when children are more relaxed and less stressed, they’re going to learn more.
Having a school dog can also help with:

School Attendance

Students experience a greater willingness to be active in the school environment when there is a school dog. Schools we have helped said their attendance rates improved as children looked forward to seeing the dog and interacting with them.


A dog in school gives students have a shared interest with other members of the school community. This helps them interact and build connections that they may have struggled to do otherwise. Wellbeing dogs can even be used with literacy programs as children may be less self-conscious reading to dogs than teachers or their peers.


A school dog can give students a sense of responsibility. They learn how to take care of the dog and how to delegate care which can help grow their leadership skills.


Students can see the impact of their actions on their wellbeing dog. This helps them understand how their behaviour impacts people around them. As a result, children learn to be more empathetic and understanding.

Students dealing with trauma

We can build programs for schools in areas where natural disasters such as fire have brought devastation to the lives of all people. We focus on bringing connectedness and finding ways to manage trauma and anxiety in conjunction with existing strategies and community links. 

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2-12 Williams Rd, Wangaratta VIC 3677 Australia

03 5721 4431

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