September 4, 2020

Loreto Kirribilli has extended the warmest of welcomes to a most unusual visitor.

Peggy the Therapy Dog is the latest initiative in the school’s Student Wellbeing Program and her twice weekly visits to the School Library are already warming the hearts and calming the minds of the entire school community.

In the words of Erin, a Year 12 student,

“Peggy walked into our lives and became the cutest study partner ever to walk Loreto grounds. Calming all nerves, Peggy effortlessly brought a smile to everyone’s face as she made the Harbour Room in the Library her home for the next two hours. The stress of tomorrow’s exam instantly left my mind as we played with her in our allocated 15-minute intervals. This has been the BEST thing ever for Year 12s and I’m beyond grateful to be given such a wonderful opportunity.” 

The one-year-old Golden Retriever, Poodle cross has a calming presence and loves interacting with people. Year 12 students are able to book small group sessions with Peggy for some relaxation and down time while they study for their upcoming HSC exams.

According to Isabella, also in Year 12,

“After studying hard for trials, the joy and comfort of having Peggy, a therapy dog, at the library was amazing! Patting her and enjoying her company brought so much happiness and joy to our lives. Sharing this opportunity with our friends was truly fun.”

“At its simplest, this is an opportunity for our girls to chat with their friends, or just spend time with Peggy in a quiet, calm environment while taking a much-needed study break,”

explains Romalina Rocca, Director of Student Wellbeing at Loreto Kirribilli.

Peggy’s owner, Angela Hill (’92), a vet and ex-student of Loreto Kirribilli commented,

“I have a real passion for helping people get the same benefits I have always received from dogs. They offer mental health and emotional benefits – but also social, physical and educational.”

Angela added that several scientific studies, many on students during exam periods, have shown that interacting with a dog reduces the stress hormone cortisol and increases feel good hormones such as oxytocin.

All in all, Peggy is the most welcome of study buddies!