WOODHOUSE Grove School has welcomed its first four-legged student as Kizzy the Guide Dog has joined pupil Louis Moorhouse at school.

Louis, a Year 12 pupil at the school in Apperley Bridge, received Kizzy from Guide Dogs in early December. After four weeks of training together, Louis and Kizzy were officially qualified as a working partnership and Kizzy accompanied Louis to school for the first time in January.

Louis, who is visually impaired, joined the school when he was 11 and has since learnt to navigate most of the school with his cane. However, the arrival of Kizzy has helped speed things up.

Louis said: “Having Kizzy makes getting through crowds of people so much easier. I can get to lessons quicker – there’s no excuse for being late now! Kizzy’s favourite place in the school is the Theatre Tech Box, where I like to chill out between lessons, because she knows there’s a squeaky lizard toy in there. We always get there very fast!”

Before Kizzy made her appearance at Woodhouse Grove, pupils were taught how they should behave around her, based on advice given by Guide Dogs.

Louis added: “It is important that people ask me before they interact with Kizzy. The staff and pupils have all been great. The only place Kizzy doesn’t come with me is lunch. When my mate Andrew comes to get me, we leave Kizzy safe in the Learning Support Office. She is always very happy to see me again when I get back. At home, Kizzy is like any other dog. She sleeps a lot and likes picking things up and carrying them around – particularly slippers!”

Another area in which Kizzy has had a significant impact on Louis’ life is in navigating outside his home and school environments.

“Crowds used to be a massive issue for me – in places like Leeds Train Station,” said Louis. “But now I have Kizzy, I think ‘I could do this’.”

Louis is currently studying A Levels in Music Technology and English Language & Literature, as well as an EPQ. He hopes to study Music Production after he leaves Woodhouse Grove.

James Lockwood, Headmaster of Woodhouse Grove School said: “We are delighted that Louis has been partnered with Kizzy. He is a remarkable young man who has impressed us every step of the way throughout his journey at Woodhouse Grove; from the way he took the challenges of a new school environment in his stride when he joined us in Year 7, to his great GCSE results last year. As a school we have worked together with Louis, his parents and friends to give him maximum independence here at The Grove. The introduction of Kizzy is the next step in this process and we are privileged to be working with Guide Dogs to help Louis and Kizzy build their relationship and prepare for life after Woodhouse Grove.”