For almost three years now, I have been raising Rooney, a yellow lab who is ultimately destined to be a mobility or autism dog for Canine Partners of the Rockies. He was supposed to be placed in service about sixth months ago, but COVID has slowed down the process, and Rooney is still with me. Two days a week he goes to advanced training, where he works with the CAPR trainers, but the other three, he comes to school with me. My sixth graders adore him and ask first thing every morning if this is a "Rooney Day." The school psychologist uses him as a therapy dog, when someone needs a little extra TLC. Teachers regularly stop by to visit or bring him treats and toys. He is a very-loved member of our school community.
Rooney's favorite guy in the whole world his Uncle Craig, the technology teacher, whose room is at the end of the hall, about five rooms down from me. Rooney loves, loves, loves Uncle Craig. The two of them play pretty much every day. Rooney knows where Uncle Craig keeps his supply of milk bones. If I don't keep my door closed, Rooney takes off to go visit Uncle Craig.
And every morning about 9:45, when we have specials, Rooney does the doggie dash. He forgets all his training, and all his manners. I stand at my room, and Craig stands at his. The fifth and sixth graders stand against the walls. Rooney stands, muscles tensed, waiting for me to release him. When I give the signal, he takes off at full speed, in his own doggie version of the 50-yard dash. When he gets to Craig, he slides to a stop, occasionally sliding past Craig, as 75 sixth graders and random adults cheer him on. He then trots into his classroom, tail wagging, and sits in front of the milk bone cabinet. One of my sixth graders heads down the hall with the leash and brings him back to our classroom.
Most of the time, Rooney is a really good dog. But then there is the doggie dash...