Thanks President – I’ll try to bring to this a bit of brevity,

In a grave, worrying time, also some rare levity.

My matter tonight is for the Education Minister,

And, while a bit unusual, it’s not meant to be sinister.

President, this Saturday, it is World Poetry Day,

An opportune moment to suggest, if I may …

The reinstatement in my electorate of a program we like,

As it helps junior school attendance dramatically spike.

K9TEACH Pet Therapy was the general name of this scheme,

And it’s one that rarely failed to make any child beam.

By Melissa Brown, it was both designed and adapted,

As extra help with schoolwork that left kids less distracted.

Through a therapy dog, it calmed almost all of the scholars,

And was exceptionally cheap for those counting the dollars.

Within Northern Victoria, in its main home at Yarrunga,

The effect was the same, on students older and younger.

Even chronic absentees sought to make a return,

The dog had prompted, in them, a new passion to learn.

Engagement with the curriculum had shown progressive improvement,

On lowering poor behaviour, there was also real movement.

So why all the past tense, you might be starting to wonder?

Well, as of 2020, it’s no longer funded.

We need the Minister’s help, for the program’s restart,

And we ask he use his head as much as his heart.

The benefits are real, and the costs are quite minimal,

So not to revive it would seem a little bit clinical.

President, the action I seek, though neither to beg nor to jeer

Is the return of K9TEACH Pet Therapy – by maybe next year?