Support Dog Program

Therapy Dogs Policy

Dogs at School Policy


Hurstbridge Primary School’s Support Dog program commenced in 2018 when we received a grant from Nillumbik Community Health. With this grant we purchased a black Labrador puppy named ‘Zen’. This puppy was trained and became our school support dog. She started coming into school as an 8 weeks old puppy, so she got to know everyone and her environment. Zen completed her official training with K9 Support in Benalla, Zen loved her life at school, she visited classrooms, visited the library where children read to her. She had a team of students the ‘Zen Crew’ who helped look after her at school. Zen attended school camps, excursions and special school events. Our School Wide Positive Behaviour Program uses a reward called a Zen coin, named after our dog.


Having Zen we realised the value of a support or therapy dog. Students visited Zen when they felt anxious or nervous, just patting and talking to an animal can have a very calming influence! Zen was there to help students settle quickly into school in the morning, as well as hanging out with them during the day. Zen also worked with our wellbeing team, including councillors, psychologists etc. Zen became an integral part of our school.


Unfortunately Zen passed away in 2020 after complications from the anti-venom following a snake bite. Our school community was devastated. We decided we wanted to continue the support dog program as we saw such benefit in the program.


In 2020 our School Principal purchased Chloe, a golden Labrador from Morndew Labradors Morndew Labradors have bread support, assistance and show dogs for a number of years and we were excited to be able to adopt Chloe. Our new dog Chloe is a retired show dog, she has won all sorts of awards across Australia and has had three litters of puppies, some of which themselves have become support dogs. Chloe is owned by our Principal, he is responsible for her care, training and all medical expenses. Chloe completed her training with K9 Support in Benalla, and is attending school each day.


Chloe, like Zen loves coming into classrooms, school camps, excursions and special school events. During remote learning over COVID she spent her days in the library with children of essential workers. Chloe’s nature and personality make her a perfect support dog. She particularly liked her time at camp with our grade 3/4 students to Phillip Island, Chloe loves the beach!


If you are interested in finding out more about our support dog program, please contact us.


We are very grateful to the following companies for their generous support of our program at Hurstbridge Primary School. Chloe eats a diet of Phuds and Raw and Fresh Dog Food each day, this keeps her in good condition for a day at school!


Phuds Natural Dog Food

Raw and Fresh Dog Food

Snooza Dog Beds

Petway Pet Care Products

The Dog Ramp Company

K9 Support

Impawtant Training!/sbig%20wrvices

Ezydog Pet Products

Trailz dog poo bags

Clear Dog Treats

Kong Dog Toys

Greencross Vets Hurstbridge

Hurstbridge Saddlery