Those who say you should never work with children or animals have never met Shirley King.
For canine-mad Shirley makes it her business to do just that.
Along with Alan Fenton and his springer spaniel Moses, she spends her days teaching schoolchildren how to behave around dogs.
Leyland-based Canine Education and Training works with schools and other children’s organisations across Lancashire to raise awareness of dog behaviour, understanding their body language and natural instincts, how to defuse a dangerous situation if one arises, and how to live safely in the home with a pet dog.
Chief executive Shirley said: “This is a new adventure and one I feel is well overdue.”
The idea is to teach children how to behave, and be safe, around canines.
Shirley said: “Our children need to be taught how to be safe around dogs, as they are also the dog owners of the future, and we want them to grow up having a better understanding of how a dog thinks and behaves.”
She launched the idea a year ago and in one month had delivered the programme to 1,100 children. Among the latest pupils were youngsters from Preston’s Moor Nook Primary in Ribbleton.
Most of the youngsters live in an area which has a lot of “status” dogs and a number of youngsters said they had been bitten or knew of dogs which had had to be destroyed because they were aggressive.
Shirley added: “All the children have really enjoyed learning how to behave around dogs and especially meeting Bertie our toy dog, then meeting Moses our real dog.
“They all have good stories to tell about their dog or a friend’s dog and have all been very interactive and posed a number of good questions.
“The teachers have all fully endorsed the training and expressed how important the workshops have been in teaching the children how to behave safely around dogs.”
The project has been well received by schools in the area and is delivered at no cost to the school, but they are asked to do some fundraising, which the organisation is happy to organise and set up, and every pupil that they speak to receives important information about living safely with the dogs to take home.
The group has now set up a crowd funding appeal to help them go into every primary and secondary school . See Http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/canine-education-training-cic