Of all the pet therapy appointments Chester and I are blessed to do ~~ one of our favorites is school-time with our granddaughter Kaile'a ~~ Kai for short. Since she entered preschool, we have visited her classroom each year.
Children & Dogs. Well, it's a match made in heaven.
A few short years ago, Kai asked me if Gigi and Chester could please visit preschool. Well, of course! Preschool was a one time visit, we shared a few words and mostly we shared a whole lot of tails wags and snuggles and Chester paw-shakes and tennis ball retrieval. He was a hit!
Kindergarten days became once a week visits. After the newness of "A DOG IS IN THE ROOM" wore off, we settled into a routine of reading on the rug with eager students. Reading mostly meant....belly rubs, head pats, giving treats, pointing out pictures in a favorite book. Regardless it was fun. And important.
With first grade a new season emerged with Chester in the classroom. Chester and I visited the students during journal writing ~~ and each one read their entries to Chester while doing their seat-work. Table-desks were perfect dog-nose-height, and perfect for reading and explaining details of dog-gone great artwork to their favorite pup. Also a good height for dog kisses. At the end of the year, we created a book, "Favorite Days With Chester!" It was and is a bestseller :-) .
And now here we are in 2nd grade already ~~ where does the time go? Chester is a familiar friend on campus. Arriving at school, it is impossible to predict how long our walk to and from class will take ~~ Chester is a kid-magnet. And we always have time. Usually with 20 minutes lead time :-) , we arrive to 2nd grade with a few minutes to spare. Our 2nd grade days are still evolving into what works best for the teacher and students. So far we have snuggle on the rug and one-on-one reading, 1 student + 1 golden retriever = happiness.
There are so many reasons to treasure our school days ~~ being swamped with kids as we walk to and from classrooms. Hearing Hi Chester! from staff and students. Observing little and big hands reaching out to give pets and pats and hugs. There are the classroom bonkers moments when silliness erupts. There are the quiet and tender reading moments between child and dog. There are the sweet conversations between children and furry friend.... from the animated I think Chester would like my dog....to the quiet voices My dog died just died, I've had him my whole life... Chester has a way of bringing out the story tucked inside the heart.
I treasure all these moments ~~~ but my favorite moment at school? It is when I see my Kai. Whether on the playground, or in the classroom, she stops whatever she is doing.......I hear her sweet voice "Gigi!" and she runs to greet me with abandon, wrapping her arms me, hugging me tight. Pure joy for both of us. Yes, that's my favorite.
A special thank you to Kai's teachers....who are so gracious with Kai and me. Of course we continue to adjust those classroom moments when she can't be up, leaving her desk, and running across the classroom with abandon. I'm thankful her teachers understand these moments ~~ I think they know they're to be treasured. In my classroom ~~ grandparents always received VIP treatment, 'rules' faded to the background and grace rose to the surface when it came to this precious relationship between grandparent and grandchild. Now that I'm a Gigi, & on the receiving end, I'm especially thankful to Debbie Mesch, my mentor-teacher, for teaching me early on this important classroom etiquette. I now understand how it feels.