Sunshine Coast Grammar School students’ days are made a little brighter when a lovable labrador comes to visit.
Oak is a two-and-a-half-year-old labrador that is in training to service Career Dogs Australia.
He is currently in the foster care of SCGS teacher Adrian Martin and as part of his training, Oak is introduced to different environments and people – and the school is a great place for that.
Mr Martin began fostering dogs for various service organisations on the Sunshine Coast 10 years ago and hasn’t looked back since.
The popular senior maths teacher is now fostering with Career Dogs Australia, which acts as a breeding organisation for service dog companies from as far as Japan and Canada.
Oak has been with Mr Martin for two years and will go on to become a breeding dog that Career Dogs Australia will use to breed more dogs for its organisation.
Mr Martin’s goal is to ensure the dog maintains a gentle demeanour, good behaviour and can be comfortable in different environments.
He says a school is the perfect place to allow Oak to mingle safety with humans and navigate a crowded environment full of different smells and sounds.
Fortunately, this four-legged fury friend loves the students, and the students absolutely adore him.
“Oak loves it; he loves the attention he gets,” Mr Martin says.
“I have students that I don’t actually teach, and they come in, say hi in the mornings and give Oak lots of love.
“When I teach lessons, he’s free to roam around, lie down next to someone or by their feet.”
Students also enjoy taking Oak on walks during morning tea and lunchtime.
Oak also participates in the school cross country and while he may not take the win, he does win the hearts of the school community.
Mr Martin says Oak makes a positive contribution to the classroom and improves the mood of students.
“Having Oak in the classroom is very positive,” he says. “The students tend to perform better, work better and respond better.”
School captain Fynn Van den Brenk, who is in Mr Martin’s Year 12 maths class, says Oak is the perfect study buddy and makes everyone smile.
“I have been extremely fortunate to have Oak in maths and he never fails to put a smile on anyone’s face,” Fynn says. “He loves sitting under our desks and is great company while working.”
Oak often attends his official training in Brisbane and Mr Martins says the students miss him when he is not in the classroom.
“When Oak goes away students always ask where he is; they definitely notice when he’s not there,” he says.
It’s safe to say Oak is going to be largely missed when he goes on to fulfil his purpose of being a breeding dog.