Not all Seeing Eye Dog puppies go on to qualify, due to a number of reasons, but for Asha, he still has an important job to do.
Adopted by a school teacher, Carolyn, he now spends his days with students ranging from five to 12 years-old, and plays an important role in their learning and development.
Asha goes to meetings with Carolyn, reads with the children, and hangs out in the office during class-time. He joins the kids in the school yard before school, and at recess, and loves meeting parents and children as they're being dropped off in the morning and after-school. The kids also love to show Asha their school work.
Carolyn says the the biggest benefit of having Asha at school is the social and emotional side of things.
"He makes people happy and happy students learn better. He’s also popular with our staff who love a cuddle. He comes to all our staff meetings and he has helped students learn about how to care for dogs," she said.
Here's what the kids had to say about Asha.
“Helps people when they’re sad. He cheers them up by being himself.”
“He’s good company at recess and lunch-times.”
“He helps people calm down.”
“He’s always there to turn your frown upside down.”
“If I see Asha in the morning I can work better because I feel happy.”
“He makes me look forward to coming to school so I can see him.”
“He’s part of the reason I’m so excited to come to school.”
What is a released dog?
Released dogs are those deemed unsuitable as Seeing Eye Dogs (SEDs). The dogs are usually between 6 and 18 months of age and may have had some basic obedience training but are generally well socialised.
They are used to sleeping indoors and having contact with at least one person for the majority of the day and night. They may have some behavioural issues, or ongoing medical problems.
PHOTO: The students recently visited our Seeing Eye Dog centre in Kensington, and also made a donation while they were there.