Furry companions provide calming influence
We asked teachers to send in pictures of their pets along with a summary of how the animal is special and helps them in their profession.
Black Labrador retriever
Owner: Megan Cote, Grade 2, Pat Hardy Primary School, Whitecourt
Sage was graciously donated to Pat Hardy Primary School in 2014 by Dogs With Wings Assistance Dog Society in Edmonton. She was trained as a therapy dog to assist children with learning difficulties and those who have high anxiety in a variety of situations, such as when reading and communicating.
Since Sage arrived at our school, the hallways echo with calls of “Sage!” as she passes by. Children who were once afraid of dogs have now conquered their fear. Children who once hated reading now bring books to the playground with them, hopeful that Sage will be out there for them to read to. Students who have weak verbal skills are now clearly saying words such as “dog,” “walk” and “pet.”
We’ve heard from parents who used to have trouble getting their kids out of bed and ready for school in the morning that their children are now eager to come to school to read to Sage before class starts. Students who used to display signs of anxiety at school experience these feelings less, and when these feelings do occur for them, they simply ask to go visit with Sage and all worries are diminished.
I am the lucky teacher who gets to have Sage in my
Grade 2 classroom on a daily basis, as well as take her home at night. I personally feel that Sage has become a huge part of the heart of Pat Hardy. Watching Sage work with students each day gives me a feeling of unbelievable pride. She is truly making a difference for each and every one of the children
at our school.
Owner: Natalie Darwent, Annie Gale School, Calgary
We’re foster parents for two local rescue organizations and fell head over heels with this boy and never considered giving him to anyone else. After a long, hard day or an easy, fantastic day, he is just so happy to have me home to himself when I walk in the door. My students love to hear my stories about him.
Yellow Labrador retriever
Owner: Karin Brusse-Paterson, Grade 2/3, Killam Public School, Killam
What makes Charlie special to our family is that we are his third home. Of all the dogs we have owned, this guy has the most character and quirks! He is also the most affectionate dog and can sense my moods. He listens as well as entertains me, makes me laugh when all I want to do is cry. I am never alone and Charlie gives me a distraction from what can be a stressful day. He gets me outside and keeps me active.
Standard rex cross
Owner: Christine Vezeau, Grade 3, École La Mosaïque, Calgary
Léo has been a class pet for five years now. He will often sit beside the kids when they are sitting on the carpet in the reading corner. He is not shy about asking for their attention. Special needs kids like to come to my class to visit with Léo. They all know his name and they like to pet him. Léo is always willing to be petted and to play with them.
Even the teachers come to my class to have a calm moment with Léo. I sure enjoy having him around. He makes every day better. He makes me laugh when he jumps on the floor and he seems to be well aware that he is showing off his abilities to an audience.
Owner: Karlee Hren, Grade 3 math and science, Ellerslie Campus School, Edmonton
Pebbles makes long and stressful days bearable. With her sweet face and constant love I am able to recharge and feel rejuvenated as I prepare for helping my students each and every day! Her unconditional love and personality provide such happiness that I am able to maintain a work–life balance that has made me a better teacher. My students see me refreshed and committed to our time together.
Owner: Myra Rybotycki, Fine Art, Spruce Grove Composite High School, Spruce Grove
Cashmere is a great companion who helps me relax by setting a good example.