A GENTLE dog is helping children to conquer their fears, gain confidence and relax.

Georgie, a Welsh corgi, supports pupils at Oak View Academy School in Winsford as a therapy dog.

The alert little five-year-old is a familiar face that every child can turn to if they feel a bit down or anxious.

Georgie belongs to class five teacher Amy Richardson and is a full-time volunteer member of staff.

“She is so loveable, she’s a real calming influence, “ said Amy, from Winsford, who has nurtured Georgie since birth. “If children get into a meltdown or feel upset she is very good at calming them down.

“My parents were foster carers so she was brought up round children from various backgrounds.”

Georgie’s half brother Marcel brings joy and tranquility to elderly dementia patients working as a therapy dog in a hospital in London.

“Georgie comes to you for attention,” said Amy. “She loves to sit next to the children and nudge them to be stroked. She is quite happy to lie down and let them tickle her tummy. She is a very big softie.”

The little dog inspires pupils to improve their learning and loves to listen to them read.

“She helps with their confidence,” said Amy. “She is not looking at them as they read and she is not going to correct them. She is just another ear, someone they can tell their problems to. Children like to talk to her.”

If pupils feel worried or distracted, they can take Georgie for a 10 minute walk round the school field.

A short break in the fresh air helps children to relieve stress and improves their concentration.

“They come back happy and ready for their learning,” said Amy.

Therapy dogs have been introduced into several schools across mid Cheshire and have provided affection, comfort, motivation and love to children with emotional and social needs.

For children who don’t have pets it is a chance for them to learn about sharing and responsible animal ownership.

“The children learn to look after something else, not just themselves,” added Amy. “They come and do her water for her. It teaches them responsibility.

“Someone hurt themselves today and Georgie went over to see if they were Ok,” said Amy. “She sat next to them and offered reassurance.

“They stay with her at playtimes and play tag with her. She was playing rounders with them this afternoon but she was not very good at fielding!”