Welsh primary school's Spanish rescue dog is an out of this world hit

A dog found abandoned and wandering streets in Spain is proving to be an ‘out of this world’ hit with pupils at a Barry primary school.

Breton spaniel Laika is now officially Palmerston Primary’s school dog where the former hunting dog, who had her tail removed, provides cuddles for children and enables them to give pet care.

Laika, thought to be around six years old, was named after the Soviet space dog, a stray mongrel from Moscow, who became one of the first animals in space.

With the help of many volunteers, Laika travelled to the UK after Palmerston Primary school business manager, Yvonne Hawkins, spotted her. Laika needed inoculations, a passport, and then a process called traces where she went through the appropriate checks to travel.

Ms Hawkins said: “I think she was abandoned because she wasn’t very good at hunting.

“She arrived on October 31, 2014 and instantly made herself at home on the sofa.

“A Home Office official came to visit.

“They had to check she had all the right documents and a passport.

“Her life had changed completely – becoming the character that sleeps in the sunshine in the living room window.

“She didn’t play for two years until she realised the balls and teddy were hers.

“In 2019, after training and risk assessment, she got the go-ahead to come to school every day.

“Laika is now front of house in the office for all the children without allergies to visit.

“She is the kindest, loyal, lovable dog, and the children adore her.

“They come to the office for visits and cwtches, and they read to her - and the odd treat is much appreciated.”