On the first day of school, I was delighted to hear from multiple students in multiple classes, “Mrs. Schmidt, where did the dog wall go?!” I moved into a new classroom this year. At the end of last school year, I had my wonderful student aid carefully dismantle the dog wall and carefully box up all of the pictures so that they could be placed in their new location.
And today, a student aid began to put the pictures back up. And immediately the atmosphere in the room changed. Students pulled out their phones and were so eager for me to see their furry ball of joy that provides them with that unconditional love. I saw videos and pictures, and heard memories and felt that powerful bond between my students and their pets. Is there anything else that students are willing to share with so much happiness and passion? Perhaps you have examples, but in my experience, nothing has collectively drawn out a students’ willingness to take a vulnerable, emotional risk than sharing a picture or story about their pets.
There is a love that a dog can give you that humans are just not capable of. Whether it’s that tail-wagging excitement when you get home for the day, or the head-on-your-chest affection when you need it the most. Here are my two beagles, Herbie and Stella, and they’ve saved my life more times than I can count, especially on the days where the pain seems to overtake my life. The slow deep breath and soft love of that creature beside me is often enough to calm the raging anxiety and clear the irrationality from my head.
And here is the progress thus far on the dog wall. I’m looking forward to some cute new additions this year.