Pet Tips 'n' Tales

Mr. G - School Dog - Part II

Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
At Harrison Elementary School, Halle and Gunther spend valuable time together in Ms. Skadburg's first grade reading class.  Furry teacher, Mr. G visits two classes during his visit.  He also helps the children in Mrs. Butler's Life Skills class.

TALES

Last week's Tips 'n' Tales featured Gunther,(Mr.G.) Harrison Elementary first grade Read Dog.  This week is dedicated to his on going volunteer service!

Mrs. F and Gunther also participates in Mrs. Butler's Life Skills Education Program. Mrs. Butler's classroom serves moderately, severely, and profoundly disabled students from kindergarten through grade 5.

Gunther, or  Mr. G as he is better known, is named in honor of his status as a furry-educator. "We are excited to read about Mr. G in the paper - he's going to be famous!" said Mrs. Butler. "He is already famous to us, and now everyone else is going to see how special he is!"

What a fun time Mr. G has in Mrs. Butler's room!  He loves that her class has snacks, because he subsequently finds tiny delicious morsels on the floor!  He was thrilled on his 5th birthday when the class gave him a pretty card they decorated and a special birthday chew bone.

"The students brush him, lay on him, pull a lip, whisker, tail, or walk him around the room," explains Mrs. Ferguson. "It's a good thing the kids love to use the hand vacuum, because when he leaves they use it to gather up all the fur he sheds. Golden Retrievers shed enormous amounts of fur all year."

Mr. G helps teach the Life Skills children. One child used to grab his fur and not release his grip.  Mr. G really didn't mind, but appreciates that the child now gently pets him with an open hand.  

"Once a child went nose to nose with Mr. G, and then unexpectedly stuck his tongue into Mr. G's mouth!   Mr. G looked as shocked as you would expect," laughs Mrs. F.

Another child had experienced dog trauma and the sight of Mr. G terrorized him at first. But after Mr. G's continued gentle presence, the child began relaxing. Months later, with the teacher's hand guiding the child's hand, he reached out and touched Mr. G.  I never thought the simple gesture of a child touching my dog would make me cry.
Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
During Ms. Skadburg's class, Mr. G. laughs at the appropriate time
as Sebastian, one of "his" students, reads a joke!
 
Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
Mr. G. encourages Sebastian to continue reading about fascinating Egyptian hieroglyphs.
 
One day, our baby granddaughter was sitting on the floor with the strangest look on her face -- and Mr. G's wet toy duck beside her.  Mr. G lay beside her quietly sucking on her pacifier!  He is polite and leaves a toy in place of what he takes, but our grandkids don't appreciate it!

On walks, Mr. G carries his leash, a ball, or a toy.  And at home he is always holding his blanket, or a toy, and using it like a pacifier.

When Mr. G was a few months old, my husband, Terry, and I, introduced Mr. G to the lake.  His breed loves water, so we assumed he would jump right in. Not so.  His litter-brother, Jack, flew past us into the water and swam.   We looked around and there, lying under the shade of a tree, was Mr. G, watching what he felt "was the excessive use of energy." 

Terry became worried because he had hopes of Mr. G becoming a bird dog, which requires the dog to swim.
 
So, Terry devised a plan: He waded into the water and called Mr. G. The pup waded out to where his front feet could not touch, and he started floating. He'd then back out of the water.  Terry floated a scrumptious dog treat on a piece of wood, in front of Mr. G's nose, but the pup still wouldn't take that step into nothingness!  After days of coaxing, we gave up and bought a dog life jacket. 

Again to the lake, and Terry headed into knee deep water carrying his "hunting dog" in a life vest.  He gently lowered Mr. G into the water and pushed him toward shore. Gunther's feet frantically moved and he swam to shore.

Now, he loves the water and a great summer's day is one spent at the lake fetching his ball over and over.  His favorite game is "hide eyes" where we cover his eyes, throw the ball, usually into the reeds, and he goes hunting for it.  Terry is very proud that Mr. G. now swims without his life jacket!" said Mrs. Ferguson. "But Mr. G always wears one for safety in our boat!  We also bought a king size bed to accommodate Mr. G!  At night, he carries his blankie to bed, and sucks on it like a toddler!"

TIPS

Dog toys are great because they don't have button eyes.  However, they almost always have a squeaker that dogs love.  The other night, Gunther pulled his toy out and played with it,  but suddenly the squeaking stopped and no squeaker was found. 

Gunther ended up at in the pet emergency room.  He was given medicine to make him throw up, and he was closely observed.  The doctor wanted to make sure that the little hard plastic squeaker did not harm his esophagus.  I now cut open each toy, throw away the squeaker, and then sew it back together.
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