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Four-legged "student" attending classes at Mercy HS

Bullmastiff attending classes at Mercy
Posted at 1:14 PM, Mar 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 18:33:06-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — A new, American-Kennel-Club certified student is now attending Mercy High School in Omaha.

Mercy High School Communications and Marketing Director Deborah Daley says Eleanor, a Bullmastiff, has become the school's new dog. The pooch joined the school late last month.

“The idea of having a school dog came up in conversation on a bus trip that faculty and staff took to an education workshop in Oklahoma. I had just adopted Eleanor from the Nebraska Humane Society and her demeanor was great. Everyone got excited about the idea and what a positive impact it would have on Mercy,” said owner Bethany Kowal ’02, Athletic Director and Science Teacher.

Before Eleanor was allowed to come to the school, Principal Kristi Walters Wessling contacted parents to make sure they were on board.

“We received several calls and emails from parents excited to meet Eleanor,” she said.

Daley says Eleanor was put through the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen Test to verify she was "well-mannered and easygoing around other dogs and people." The test is a prerequisite for many therapy dog programs.

Students have welcomed the idea of having a school dog that is intended to "leave a trail of smiles whenever she moves through the school."

"I have heard students say after petting Eleanor, “This is literally the best thing to happen to me today. The teachers and student alike seem to really enjoy her. I think she helps facilitate connections amongst everyone,” Kowal said.

Eleanor is currently attending classes with Kowal but the school plans to develop a schedule which will make her available to counselors and in other settings.