A star – Woody

Woody has made a significant impact to the school since he arrived at Dee Banks in April and now he is a media star with the Chester Chronicle writing an article on how he has settle in.


A special addition to the team at a Chester school is looking forward to his first Christmas with the young pupils.

Since April, Dee Banks School has welcomed two-year-old golden Labrador cross retriever Woody.

Woody, a trained Guide Dogs buddy dog, was selected because of his calm temperament which is perfect for the school environment.

The four-legged friend helps children aged from two to 19 who have a range of additional needs including autism, severe learning difficulties and profound multiple learning difficulties including visual impairment.

Woody’s timetable ranges from classes where he gets to play in the school field, go for a walk with the children, grooming sessions or even has children reading to him.

Mason Critchlow, four, stood next to Woody the buddy dog at Dee Banks School


The Guide Dogs Buddy Dog programme aims to match specially selected dogs within a school or family environment for the benefit of blind or partially sighted children and young people. The teachers at Dee Banks have seen the massive impact this service can provide in as little as six months.

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When Woody is not working he lives at home with deputy headteacher Matthew Campion, who said: “Woody has unlocked a world for our pupils. We see a reaction now from pupils that we never have seen.

“We see a reduction in challenging behaviour and pupils who don’t communicate or won’t normally provide any form of communication will go to Woody and start a form of communication with him.”

Golden Labrador cross retriever Woody at Dee Banks School


Matt described how Woody has the ability to calm a child with autism down from an agitated state and has also done wonders for staff wellbeing within the school. There are often people arriving in the office at home time to take Woody for a quick walk or cuddle.

A spokesperson for Dee Banks School added: “You won’t find anyone within the building, or any family, that will say it hasn’t been a positive experience. It feels like Woody has been here forever, not just six months. He is an absolute star.”

To find out more about the buddy dog service contact the Liverpool team on 0118 983 8749 or visit www.guidedogs.org.uk/services/buddy-dogs/

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