Berry Street School and Phoebe’s story
Berry Street School in Ballarat, Victoria is a very special place. It’s where children who have experienced severe trauma in their young lives can go to heal. At the school, they are shown what they can achieve. They are made to feel loved and valued. Phoebe arrived in May this year and now she is a vital member of this little school community.
She brings so much fun, laughter and happiness to the kids. She’s also teaching them responsibility and empathy. They adore her, and the feeling is mutual. Students who are normally aggressive or introverted open up to Phoebe. She can often be seen rolling around on the floor with them as they allow themselves to just be silly. They talk to her like a person – the person they wish they had to talk to at home. Phoebe curls up in a corner and listens intently while they tell her all their problems. She also has a knack of wandering to the student who is the most troubled and offering her paw, or ‘visiting’ them. She gives a lot of hugs every day.
The students adore Phoebe. They have bought her gifts; which considering how little most of them have for themselves is quite remarkable.
Phoebe is always there when students have to talk to DHS or the police, and patting her has certainly helped to soothe them during these difficult times. Phoebe has a lot of personality and can be quite cheeky, but this is something the students adore. A ‘teacher’s pet’ would never fit in at Berry Street School. They love to watch her zoom around the yard during breaks, and they laugh over her attempts to get them to feed her by using the world’s saddest dog face.
Staff and students at Berry Street School tell us Phoebe is a gift to every single day.
Follow her on Instagram: phoebe_learns