This is Sam. He’s a two year old golden retriever and my absolute world (sorry hubby!)
Over the lockdown period we have been enjoying long quiet walks. Sometimes we go to the river, but most of his walks have been around the University campus near us.
It’s big, quiet, and most importantly safe for our evening walks.
Occasionally we have seen other dog walkers and sometimes a merry band of 17 year olds (not at all social distancing) who have taken a shine to him. Sam has been unsure of new people (who isn’t) but has been welcoming of the fusses and attention (again, who isn’t!).
After almost 5 months of quiet walks, things started to change. More people were on campus for tours and welcoming parties around results time. Sam was a little perturbed by the erection of new structures but on the whole was okay with change in situation.
Until he wasn’t.
On Friday, hubby went away. Normally Sam is fine, but over the last few months they have hugely bonded. Sam began to whine in the evening and was restless. It got to the point where I had to put in an Adaptil plugin to help calm him.
And just when I thought he was calming….
On Monday evening, we enjoyed a dry night and did our usual evening walk.
The 17 year olds were there, but there were lots of them.
A tall teen, on a tiny scooter, rushed out between Sam and I. He tried to slow when he realised there was a dog but in the process, spooked Sam. And I mean, run away in a hurry kind of spooked.
It took 10 minutes to get him as he ran in circles around the buildings he thought of as safe whilst he tried to get back to me.
It was a scary incident for both of us.
Thankfully Sam is unharmed and although spooked, he is okay being around that area, though I am much more cautious than I ever was before.
The lesson in this is that after such a long time away from the structure and organisation, those returning may seem okay (and even excited) to be back. However, it isn’t going to take much for something to upset that calm.
As DSLs we need to be vigilant to those metaphorical tall teens on tiny scooter who may spook others – students or teachers alike.
Now, or than ever, are our students and staff susceptible to being spooked by something which they may otherwise take in their stride.
What might spook your staff or students?
Want to keep on top of your safeguarding obligations, join Kate and other child protection professionals in The Safeguarding Association community.
Now you know more about the different types of abuse, learn what the various stages of child protection look like in my short course: Overview of Child Protection Stages
Already working as a DSL in tertiary education and looking for quality training relevant to your sector and role? Complete the contact form below or look at my open courses here
The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this blog. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this blog. Safeguarding Practitioners Ltd & Kate Young disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this blog.