Furry (and furless) friends help with wellness and engagement
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.
Breed: Purebred ragdoll
Owner: Brianna Orchin, Grade 4/5, Meyokumin Elementary School, Edmonton
Niobe is special in that I’ve had her since I was 13 years old and her “cattitude” has only increased with age. It’s hard to believe, but she is a sucker for tradition (never miss a morning of giving her a cup of fresh water from the orange cup or she won’t let you forget it). However, she’s very intuitive and just seems to know when someone needs a cuddle or meow in the face.
On the days when I’ve had marking up to my ears and dealt with energy levels off the scale, Niobe has been a stress reducer and a companion to watch Netflix with. Also, she has become a muse when creating projects and a bridge to building relationships with my students. My students (even those from previous years) now include her in their work and ask to see more pictures of my grumpy old lady cat, who can never seem to smile.
Owner: Shantelle Lewicki, Grades 7 to 12 cosmetology,
Crowsnest Consolidated High School, Crowsnest Pass
Winston’s dashing good looks are the biggest thing that makes him so special. As you can tell, he doesn’t look like an ordinary kitten because he has no hair. He has a variety of sweaters to keep him warm but, as they say, bald is beautiful!
After I’ve had a long, sometimes strenuous day of teaching, Winston helps me relax. He comes and cuddles up with me and, being a sphynx, keeps me warm. (Sphynxes are often compared to velvety warm water bottles, which is quite beneficial to those of us who live in the mountains!) He also gave me the chance to bond with my students by holding a naming contest.
Bleed: Shih Tzu
Owner: Jess Sereda, Counsellor, Thorhild Central School, Thorhild
Ronnie is a special dog because he never grew beyond a puppy! Born as a runt, Ronnie was extra small and stayed that way. Ron is the true definition of a lap dog and he loves to come to school and snuggle with kids while they work. He has the ability to lift anyone’s spirits with his googly eyes and heart of gold. Petting Ron is an instant calming tool, and students visibly relax when he’s with them.
Bleed: Lop-eared rabbit
Owner: Tara Johnson, Grade 6, Uplands Elementary School, Brooks
This is Marley’s second year as our Grade 6 classroom pet. Here are the things that make Marley special (compiled by students).
- She makes everybody in the class happy.
- She has a sassy attitude.
- How good she is at finding food on
- She’s cute!
- It is fun to read to her!
- She is stubborn!
- She’s FLUFFY!
- She loves shoes and purses!
Here is a list of the ways that Marley helps me with my profession (also compiled by students).
- She helps students focus on lessons when she is being held by them.
- Students hold her when they are done their work. She motivates them.
- She teaches students how to be responsible by taking care of her and making sure that the room is clean so that she can hop around.
- She makes students and staff happy.
- She makes the students calm when they are holding her.
- When a student is frustrated, Marley is there to help.
- She helps me build relationships with students who are not in my class.
Bleed: SPCA rescue
Owner: Carol Lach, Learning support teacher, Canyon School, Pincher Creek
Bella is special as she has been my loyal companion through life. My pet helps me relax with cuddles after a day of work and keeps me up to date with the ATA News.
Flock to Facebook for more furry photos!
Check our the ATA's facebook page for a gallery containing additional Teacher's Pet submissions.