PUPILS received an important lesson from a waggy-tailed visitor to promote responsible dog ownership.

Durham County Council’s civic pride team has joined forces with Stray Aid, a charitable organisation which rescues and rehomes stray dogs and cats, to develop Paws in the Playground, an interactive lesson which introduces children to vital aspects of dog ownership and delivers important messages about strays.

Rosa Street Primary School, in Spennymoor, received a visit from members of the Stray Aid team, including community teaching dog Toffee. During an assembly, children learnt the essential ways to look after a dog, including microchipping, feeding and playing.

Children were invited to greet Toffee using their new safety knowledge, as well as re-enacting what to do should a dog get into the playground.

Lee Henderson, community engagement officer at Stray Aid, said: “Stray Aid was founded to stop rehomeable strays being put down and takes in over 1,300 dogs a year. We want to help people understand the plight of animals and how we can help them. A huge part of this is educating young people about dogs and how we can best relate to them.”

Ian Hoult, the council’s neighbourhood protection manager, said: “How we deal with stray dogs is important for the safety of the animals and our residents here in County Durham. Visiting schools is one way we can ensure our young people are informed about the issue.”

The lesson built on previous sessions with the school, presented by Durham County Council’s civic pride team, addressing litter and green issues.

For more information on Stray Aid visit strayaid.org.uk