Almost exactly one year ago, The Washington Post ran an article called Dogs in Classrooms? At these private schools, pets are all over the place (https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dogs-in-classrooms-at-these-private-schools-pets-are-all-over-the-place/2015/10/01/5fe712ea-6169-11e5-b38e-06883aacba64_story.html) and we all wondered why there was no mention of Calvin in the story! One year later, and beginning my third year at Harbor, I continue to marvel at the benefits of having a dog like Calvin at school. To describe the positive effect that Calvin has on our students, our teachers, and our community, I would like to share a story about one special boy at Harbor.
This young child is mad about Calvin. For whatever reason, he fell in love on Day 1 with a dog he just met…and it has grown into the most beautiful relationship! In the mornings, the child and his sister stop to say “good morning” to Calvin. There’s petting, belly rubbing, and lots of smiles. This little boy’s mother has shared that her son’s speech has improved in a short time because he talks all the time about Calvin at home. Who knew that Calvin was a speech therapist?
What other roles does Calvin play? He is a nurse’s assistant who helps children with boo-boos feel better. He is a psychologist who sits quietly and listens while children share their woes. He is a reading specialist who patiently waits while a child reads to him, struggling with difficult words. He is comic relief when he saunters into a classroom of playing children to say hello…and to eat their leftovers in the trashcan!
I caught a teacher, just today, during a break, sitting on the floor with Calvin just absent-mindedly rubbing his ear…taking a mind and body break from a busy day.
You know what Calvin is? A friend. A non-judgmental, patient, kind, fun-loving friend…and we all need a friend like that!