AN ADORABLE dog is on a mission to make sure Cumnock pupils pass their exams.

Nucky is a loveable little Malshi (Maltese Shih Tzu) who has enrolled at Cumnock Academy to help students with test stress.

It comes after chemistry teacher, Iona Steven, brought him into school to encourage pupils to stay calm during exams season but was shocked to see just how much he helped.

The cute pooch, named after Steve Buscemi’s character in Boardwalk Empire, had such a positive influence he is now visiting a range of classes.

Cumnock Chronicle:

He helped one first year boy from the Supported Learning Centre through a particularly difficult day by sitting by his side and giving him kisses.

Iona Steven said: “When you walk through the corr idor s pupils and teachers stop to say hello to Nucky and give him a pat, he brings a bit of happiness everywhere he goes. Before each exam, Nucky has been visiting the young people waiting to enter the exam hall.

“He loves all the attention and the young people feel much calmer and more focused after his visit.

“His influence has been so positive that we have decided to take him into classes. The young people are so much calmer when he is there. It makes me proud that Nucky is helping so many of our young people.”

Head teacher Peter Gilchrist has welcomed Nucky’s calming andsupportive presence.

He said: “Therapy pets are used widely in a number of settings to provide calm, comfort and love to people during difficult times. When we considered bringing Nucky into school our first thought was for our young people sitting exams.

“Every parent knows what a stressful time this is for young people so the plan was for Nucky to come into school and provide some quiet reassurance to our young people but his role has since developed.

Cumnock Chronicle:

“Dogs can provide affection, comfort and support to people who are anxious but evidence also shows that dogs can provide positive support to young people with additional support needs. Nucky has been visiting nurture classes within the Support Learning Centre and he adapts his behaviour to support the needs of our young people. Sometimes he is cheeky and fun and sometimes he just provides cuddles and calm.

“Nucky has done such a good job that over the summer we are going to recruit a full time therapy dog for Cumnock Academy.

“Good mental health goes hand in hand with achievement and we are committed to ensuring that we nurture our young people to reach their full potential.”