Old dogs win new plaudits

7th April 2000 at 01:00
A SHAGGY dog story had a happy ending when two college-going canines picked up Cruft's prizes, writes Harvey McGavin.

Dutch keeshonds DJ and Sapphie won first and fifth prize in the section for older working dogs at the prestigious show last month. Their success would have come as no surprise to students at Highbury College, Portsmouth.

Students with learning difficulties use the dogs to help with literacy and numeracy tasks such as learning how to subtract by weighig themselves with and without a dog in their arms.

DJ and Sapphie are brought into the college by an animal rescue centre in Bournemouth, Mobile Petz, which specialises in providing animals for educational purposes.

Course leader Carolann Millar said: "The experience of looking after the animals is new to most of the students because they have always been dependent on someone else.

"Having the animals around has been a big boost for their confidence."

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