NURSERY children in Moray have welcomed a friendly, four-legged playmate into their classroom.
Tail-a-wagging, Brumley the Golden Labrador arrived at VIP Childcare as part of a project to encourage children to respect and value animals.
Brumley was a stray and desperately in need of care, but his fortunes turned around when he walked into Elgin Community Centre to be met by leisure assistant Callan Clark, of Rothes.
“Callan saw him and he was just so friendly, so he took him up to Brumley Brae to see if he was micro-chipped or if anyone was missing him,” said Michelle Tatters, financial administrator of VIP Childcare, which operates from the Trinity Road centre. “He waited for a period to make sure nobody claimed him and then Callan adopted him.”
It was then that communitycentre staff learned of the therapeutic value of pets and looked into the possibility of making Brumley a regular day-time guest. With risk assessments carried out, and following a period ofadjustment during which Brumley learned to feel safe and was given a structured routine by Callan, he was led through the doors for a second time – this time as a much-loved pet.
“Everyone at the centre has welcomed him. Since we have so many groups here at the community centre, we thought it would be ideal to have this lovely Lab here. It is one of those things that has just lifted the spirits. Everyone goes in and can’t help leaving with a smile, because when he wags his little tail at you it is just lovely. He is adorable,” said Michelle.
Brumley normally stays in the back office of the main reception to the centre. However, VIP’s 3-5 group are learning about pets and how to care for them. “They’ve had visits from the vet, they’ve gone to the pet store, and now Brumley is being introduced to the children. The children will interact with him, using the skills they have already learned. He has a lovely nature and we want to use that to encourage the children to become part of his care routine.”
Staff and children will also take Brumley for walks to the park and woods, and may help with his feeding routine.
“A lot of them already know him because they walk past him when they come in and when they leave each day,” said Michelle, adding that the youngsters have come to see Brumley as “part of the family”. While paying his visits to the nursery, Brumley will have Callan in tow, with staff also present to supervise.