Mercy High School missing favorite four-legged classmate

Posted at 10:46 AM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 11:46:50-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Thousands of students are missing their classmates as we adjust to the new normal. Back in early March we met a new four-legged student at Mercy High School who is likely missing her classmates almost as much as they miss her.

Being a new student is tough, but Eleanor makes it look easy.

"She's like super okay to be petted just whenever you feel like it," said sophomore Abigail Glanzer, . "She'll just wander over by you and just sit by you and let you pet her, and then she wears a little bow and that's so cute."

You might think this fashion-forward student would be a distraction, but Bethany Kowal says Eleanor is a privilege in her class.

"If she becomes a distraction, I'll find somewhere else for her to go during class. And so they've been really good, and so they'll be just taking their notes and petting her with the other hand, or she'll walk by, and they'll just kind of stroke her as she walks by, and then they get back to work."

"I was really worried about how the kids would react to it because I mean. I know she's a big dog, so we were a little worried that that might scare some people," said principal Kristi Wessling.

Wessling says she had a few parents call with concerns before Eleanor started school, including one who has allergies, but since Eleanor started, she hasn't gotten one complaint.

"He commented that it would make the school much more of a home than it already is for our girls, and I think that's absolutely true," said Wessling. "I also had another parent say, 'Thanks, because this way my daughter can actually have contact with a dog, but we don't have I buy one for our house.'"

Kowal adopted her last fall from the Nebraska Humane Society, naming her Eleanor.

She thought this dignified dog would be the perfect addition to the school. Eleanor took the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen Test, and she passed with flying colors.

Kowal says Eleanor is here for everyone and helps her connect with students outside her classes.

"One girl in the hallway and was just like, 'I'm having a really bad day, can I pet Eleanor?' And so you stop and you pause, and it's a ministry in a way too. Just being present that's what she's here. Just being present."

Gym isn't her best subject, but when it comes to love, she's deserves an A+.

Eleanor is home with Kowal, but Kowal is still sending her students plenty of cute photos of their favorite classmate. They are all looking forward to hopefully reuniting in the fall.