A rescue dog has landed on his paws with a new home and a new job.
Jaxon, a border collie/lurcher cross is putting his calming influence to good use by working with students at a Wearside special school.
After being rehomed by Gordon Jackson, site manager at Portland Academy, Jaxon started going to work with his new owner when it became apparent he had a special connection with the children and has become an invaluable asset.
Gordon stumbled across the dog when he visited the North East Greyhound Rescue stall at his local pet shop – only to be told that the dog was called Jaxon.
He said: “It was love at first sight. As soon as I saw him I thought he was lovely as he reminded me of a childhood pet. I discussed getting him with my wife, but as we both work it didn’t seem fair to take him – until I asked if it would be possible to bring him to school.
“Now he fulfils a vital role for our children, who have complex needs.
He just seems to have the knack of de-stressing everyoneGordon Jackson
“He is such a natural with people. The kids love him, we have used him to diffuse potentially difficult situations with any students who may be in crisis.”
He said Jaxon is incredible at shifting the attention from pupils allowing them to settle down.
They have also walked him around the grounds on his lead and he has been successfully used to coax reluctant students out of taxis and minibuses.
Gordon said: “I also take him into class to help students learn about animals, which is invaluable for any who are nervous around dogs. They ask me questions and feed him treats, he has proved to be such a success.
“Often the teachers will pop in my office to see him too as he just seems to have the knack of de-stressing everyone.”
Sharon Common, head of school at Portland Academy in Chapelgarth, which caters for pupils aged 11-19-years-old who have severe or profound and multiple learning difficulties, said: “Jaxon has the most incredible empathy with people, particularly children, and helps them put whatever they are experiencing into perspective.
“He is demonstrating the ability to become a brilliant therapy dog.”