Jack, ALS’s very own therapy dog at work

We’d like to share some thougths from two students who work with our ALS tutor Carolyn and Jack. Both these students wanted to share their unique experiences of meeting Jack.

Jack and AmyAmy,  Media Production: “I  have a big fear of dogs, but can cope with Jack the therapy dog at uni, been really stressed and sitting with him helped escape everything”





Annika, Forensic Biology:

“I am not a dog person but if you meet Jack you will be! A passive, non- threatening little furry friend who waits for you to approach him. He doesn’t bark or jump up. He has a bed in the office where you will find him lying in, or on the floor having a leisurely stroll- up and down the corridor. He is a special needs dog and his expert training is very prevalent.
He doesn’t judge you but just ‘is’ ; in case you need some comfort, calmness or distraction. I really recommend everyone to go and visit him.
At home I’m a cat person. At University I’m a dog person!!
Thank you”

Good job, Jack, keep up the good work!




It’s that dog again!

jacksportraitOnce upon a time there was a high achieving and particularly versatile student called Liam who featured so many times on these pages that I suggested he got his own blog. Liam’s place in dispatches has now been superseded by a member of ALS staff: Jack Atherton’s fame is spreading far and wide, despite him being only three years old.

In September, Jack made both the front and back pages of the Daily Echo Knowledge supplement with an account of the work he does in the ALS unit on what is thought to be the first project of its kind in the country; this in conjunction with Caring Canines. Jack’s therapeutic qualities help anxious students to remain calm and purposeful: ‘he communicates through his body language … he just seems to understand’.

To promote and recognise the work Jack does an event will take place on 24 October at 10am in the Student Hall on Talbot Campus. This will be attended by the Mayors of Poole and Bournemouth along with their wives and other dignitaries.  Local MP, Tobias Ellwood, will also be present as will representatives of Caring Canines and a number of students with whom Jack has worked. Staff and students are welcome so pop the date into your diary.

End of year report

new little jackIt’s that time of year when students write to voice appreciation for the support they’ve received. For some of the early comments, please have a look at the ‘what our students say’ page.

Jack Stanley, as a unique member of the team, warrants his own account. Here’s some of the feedback given:

“Jack’s support was rather helpful in providing a calm and satisfying atmosphere. He is a very pleasant dog and he definitely makes a difference in being here. I shall look forward to seeing him in my next academic year” (Business Studies student)

“Jack is a constant in that he stayed during my practice presentation with Carolyn. It was as if he knew I had done it ok despite my struggling” (DEC student)

“Jack is very calming and is a good stress buster and helps my learning” (Multimedia Journalism student)

“I feel that Jack brings a nice calm aspect to my ALS session and a big smile to my face every time I attend. Essential part of the team” (Paramedic Science student)

“Jack is a useful addition to the team that can brighten the mood of those feeling low” (Forensic Computing & Security student)

Well done Jack!

The new dog on the blog…

…actually, he’s been here before but we love him so here’s an interview Carolyn conducted with our latest member of staff.

Jack has recently been successful in gaining the position of care dog in the ALS department at Bournemouth University.

Here is a short profile

Name:  Jack Stanley Atherton

Age 2 ¾

Breed: Shizhu

Relationship status:  recently separated from Mrs Shizhu .  Has one daughter called Alicia.

Human status – lives now with his human mum Carolyn and his pet cat Hayley.


All his aunties and uncles in ALS, and particularly the people who gave him the job.  He also loves the students who pet him.

Treats to include cheese (but is trying to watch his weight) so don’t give him any

Herding his pet cat Hayley into different rooms in his flat


Jack Russell terriers who bowl him over in the sea.  

Going to the groomers or being brushed

Dogs who think they are bigger than him

Thanks to Carolyn for sending in this report.

Carolyn and Jack

This is Carolyn with her boy Jack. When Carolyn is not working as a support tutor in ALS, she and Jack can be found offering reading tutorials to children who lack confidence or literary skills at Pokesdown Primary School.

Jack is a member of Caring Canines, a Queen’s Award winning volunteering service that offers dog assisted therapy in local communities. In Bournemouth, its patron is Tobias Ellwood MP.

The lovely (and very calm) Jack is part of a scheme called Be Bookwise which aims to help children become better readers. The child reads to the dog and the volunteer is on hand to help with any difficult words. This week, Jack has been listening to a story about ‘goldfish fairies’. How brilliant is that?