29 May 2024

Furry companions provide best homesickness remedy in Weipa

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Girls at the Western Cape College Residential Campus in Weipa are improving their emotional wellbeing through dog-walking for the Cape Animal Protection Shelter. Photo: Supplied.

Girls at the Western Cape College Residential Campus are connecting beyond the classroom with a dog-walking volunteer gig.

The students go to the Cape Animal Protection Shelter (CAPS) twice a week after school as part of an initiative which started last year.

New female campus teacher Mia Beasley decided to continue the activity again this year and reached out to CAPS.

“I thought I’d carry on the tradition, because the girls really respond well to it; they get out into the community, and it fosters great social and emotional wellbeing for them,” she said.

“We just love taking the dogs for a stroll, listening to music and enjoying the afternoon.”

With the boarding students coming from all areas of Cape York, Ms Beasley said loneliness and homesickness were prevalent issues.

“I can see the girls are happier when they come out and they’re caring for the dogs,” she said.

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“It’s nice to be able to support that nurturing side of them, because they are so far away from their families and their communities, so being able to care for the dogs is something that’s really special to them.

“As simple as it is, it really helps with their emotional health and brings everyone together a little closer.”

The volunteer activity also led to a permanent furry addition to the residential campus family.

“I’ve actually adopted one of the CAPS dogs, and I bring her into the campus and the girls love to play with her,” Ms Beasley said.

Ms Beasley said she hoped to continue the dog-walking activity for years to come.

“I’m definitely going to be continuing it with the girls this year and into my time here at Western Cape College,” she said.

“It’s something that I think would be a fantastic tradition to keep carrying on for the future cohorts that come through.”

Group selfie

The combination of walking dogs, listening to music, talking and soaking up the Weipa landscape is bringing Western Cape College Residential Campus students closer together. Photo: Supplied.

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