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Dog employed as therapist at Bromley school
Charlie, who is in year eight, lost his mum last year and in the week after she passed away he would arrive at school early every day to see Selkie.

Selkie helps students through difficult times 

A head teacher’s pet dog has become an honorary member of the teaching staff at Bickley Park School in Bromley, after showing promise as a therapy dog.

Four-year-old Labrador Selkie helps children who suffer from cynophobia, or fear of dogs, and acts as a talking therapy provider for those who need extra help in difficult times.

Charlie, who is in year eight, lost his mum last year and in the week after she passed away he would arrive at school early every day to see Selkie.

He says he found her very calming and liked the way she treated him as a special friend - whenever he feels down she is always waiting in the office for him.

Patrick Wenham, head teacher at Bickley Park School, said: “Dogs are often referred to as man’s best friend but for those who have a genuine fear of encountering them, life can be very difficult.

“Selkie has always been heavily involved in the school community, and having her present is proving invaluable for those who have a fear to overcome or those that just need to trust someone who won’t pass judgement.

“Research has shown that stroking animals has a positive effect on mood, and can help relax and soothe people.  Selkie is a very calm, good-natured dog who is happy to take the role of pupil therapist.  She is looking forward to helping more children in any way she can.”

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Public urged to provide homes for swifts

News Story 1
 The RSPB is calling on the public to help provide new homes for swifts, as figures show the birds' numbers have fallen to less than half what they were 20 years ago.

Swifts arrive in the UK late April-May and can spend up to three months in the country. The RSPB attributes the birds’ decline to modern buildings, which lack the nooks and crannies they need to build nests.

While some house builders have agreed to integrate swift homes into new buildings, the RSPB believes more can be done to help this incredible bird. 'Just, 1,000 additional new nest boxes could make a difference’, the charity said.  

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News Shorts
Detection time for omeprazole reduced to 48 hours in racehorses

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has announced that the detection time for omeprazole has been reduced from 72 hours to 48 hours. This is effective from 1 February 2019.

Omeprazole can be prescribed for the management of gastric ulcers in racehorses; however, studies have recently become available that show no direct effect of omeprazole on performance.

Tim Morris, the Authority’s Director of Equine Science and Welfare, commented: “Medication control in horse racing is essential to allow treatment for good welfare but also to ensure fair racing by medication withdrawal before racing. Trainers have asked for more information, especially on anti-ulcer medications, and we have used existing information to make a harmonised detection time for omeprazole available as soon as we could.”