She’s not just cute and cuddly – golden retriever Bella is set to help Fife school pupils through a ruff time as she takes up a new wellbeing role.
Bell Baxter High School staff and pupils in Cupar welcomed the adorable eight-week-old puppy to school on Wednesday after pupils campaigned tirelessly for over a year for the therapy pet.
It started as an English persuasive essay assignment, but Callum Christie and Logan Fenton, who will both be entering S4 in August, were delighted to see the project become a reality.
Their research discovered the enormous benefits therapets have in reducing stress, anxiety and support for young people.
The boys secured the endorsement of the school’s senior leadership, including rector Carol Ann Penrose, and raised £2500 for the initial purchase and set-up costs for Bella.
Logan, 15, said: “Bella will be a calming presence and she will make us all feel safe. It will be nice to be able to look to her for support with anxiety.
“I know it would have helped Callum and I with our frustrations during first and second year.”
Callum, 14, added: “It’s a really good opportunity for us and we’re very excited to have Bella join us at school.
“We’re very thankful to Ms Penrose for supporting us with this project. It will be a great opportunity to make Bell Baxter a greater place for young people.”
Bella will live with support teacher Linda Jeffrey, who will supervise her initial training. When she isn’t in school, she will be a much-loved family pet.
She was given a tour of the school on Wednesday and will be introduced to school life gradually and carefully as she gets older, where she will help promote pupils’ emotional wellbeing.
Mrs Penrose praised Callum and Logan’s determination in the project, she said: “Logan and Callum are the real stars here; they have believed in this project from the start and have been relentless in making it happen.
“These Bell Baxter pupils embody our school values of togetherness, curiosity and excellence and I am extremely proud of what they have achieved together.”
Protocols have been put in place for young people or staff with pet allergies or phobias. Anyone with any concerns or questions should email Mrs Jeffrey at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A JustGiving page has been launched by Bell Baxter pupils to help raise money for Bella’s ongoing costs.