Students at Witchford Village College treated to a visit from trainee therapy dog, Bessie

Bessie the dog, who has been drafted in by East Cambridgeshire Constabulary to work as a therapy dog

Bessie the dog, who has been drafted in by East Cambridgeshire Constabulary to work as a therapy dog in schools across the region. PHOTO: Policing East Cambridgeshire - Credit: Archant

Schools can be the most hectic of places – but East Cambridgeshire Contabulary has helped to provide some relief at one of the region’s colleges by bringing along its trainee therapy dog.

Sergeant Phil Priestley of Ely Police Station. PHOTO: Seb Pearce

Sergeant Phil Priestley of Ely Police Station. PHOTO: Seb Pearce - Credit: Archant

Bessie, owned by Sergeant Phil Priestley of Ely Police Station, has recently visited Witchford Village College as part of her training to become a fully-fledged therapy dog, which are trained to provide comfort and affection to people in hospitals, nursing homes and schools.

The 16-week-old Cocker Spaniel puppy met teachers, staff and pupils and was introduced into classrooms to help her acclimatise to stressful scenarios in which she will be used to help one fully-qualified.

Sgt Phil Priestley said: “Bessie is at the heart of my family and is incredibly precious to my sons and to my wife. We adore her. She has a lovely temperament that suits her to the soft side of therapy training.

“Shona McKenzie at Witchford has been instrumental in helping me to take Bessie along the road to her eventual qualification.


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“The effect that she has on the kids at school - and the teachers of course - is magical.

“We hope that in the fullness of time Bessie will become an integral part of our relationship with all of our local schools.”

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