AN appeal has been launched by a Lower Darwen school to help them train a therapy dog for their pupils.

Natasha Sweeney is a pupil wellbeing co-ordinator at Lower Darwen Primary School on Milking Lane and has done research in schools around the world about the benefits of having a therapy dog.

The mum-of-two says her three-year-old labrador Bailey has been given the green light by school bosses to make the idea a reality.

Now, she has a six-week race against time to raise money for training for her dog and has created a Facebook page ‘Bailey’s Journey to therapy dog’.

She said: “There are so many different reasons why therapy dogs can help reduce mental health problems, from reducing anxiety or fear, and it manifests in different ways for everyone.

“If they stroke an animal or dog then it releases the hormone serotonin across your body and it gives you happiness.

“There are so many sensory comforts through touch and stroking a pet when stress levels are high.

“Not everyone has a pet at home and this will hopefully provide an alternative.

“If there are any attendance issues then it may give them a boost to want to get into school

“We greet our children every morning and I want to have Bailey next to me, and I think his presence will make them happy and calm.

“There is so much research on how it can help and we think it will help staff and pupils.”

If the school can raise £1,000, then Pawsable - a charity exclusively providing autism assistance dogs - will be looking to help see if Bailey is up to the task.

If he is successful, he will be able to help staff and pupils for the next 12 months.

In September, the Lancashire Telegraph reported how St Peter and St Paul’s Primary School in Rishton had brought in Larry the dog, and how the 14-week-old cockapoo was having a positive impact on pupils and staff.

To donate to the appeal check out the link via