My Pet: Moe is a great school companion

By Liz Mellino

If you listen closely while at St Mary’s Primary School in Mooroopna, you may just hear the patter of small paws running through the classroom.

Two-year-old toy poodle Moe has become the school’s live-in dog, travelling to school each day with support learning officer Liz Turk.

Ms Turk said Moe had become a regular face in the classroom, helping alleviate the worries and anxiousness students may experience.

‘‘I got him for my 60th birthday from my children — I brought him to school and all the kids loved him and from that day on he’s come to school everyday,’’ she said.

‘‘He loves it, he’s like a kid going to daycare he gets to the door he can’t wait to get in and when it’s time to go home he can’t wait to get home.’’

Moe travels to school each day with Ms Turk where he spends most of his day with literacy support teacher Alison Castles.

Ms Castles said Moe has been a positive addition for the students she teaches with many feeling more comfortable and at ease when he was in the room.

‘‘A couple of students were particularly reluctant to join in with games and things they just didn’t have the confidence,’’ she said.

‘‘They have taken charge of Moe and taken him out and because of the communication that happens when Moe is around they now go out and play with their friends without hesitation, which they didn’t do before.’’

With a bed and some food set up in Ms Castles’ office, Moe spends his days in comfort at the school, enjoying the company of staff and students.

Ms Castles said the students took it in turns to take Moe outside during recess and lunchtime, where he enjoyed a run around the oval and was known to get the attention of many students in the yard.

‘‘We’ve got our little Moe’s minder monitor on the door and the children will take Moe out on a walk,’’ she said.

‘‘The atmosphere of the school has always been great but he just gives it that shine.’’

Ms Turk said she had noticed a huge improvement in the confidence of many students since Moe had been around, believing more schools should have a dog or pet for students to enjoy.

She said she had no plans to stop bringing Moe to work with her, thanking the school’s principal for acknowledging the positive impact he had on the students and their social skills.

‘‘Anxiety is a terrible thing and a lot of these children come to school with normal everyday things but they’re so anxious, and then they see him and they just melt,’’ she said.

‘‘He certainly has made a huge difference to our school — all the kids know him he’s just a real asset to our school, he’s beautiful.’’