Saturday, March 3, 2012

Slice of Life Day Three: Murphy Visits Douglasville

My blogs this month are a collection of stories from my 43 years of teaching.  Since I am retiring after this year, I thought this was a wonderful way to collect memories!

One of the highlights of Douglasville, what I called my second grade classroom, was when Murphy visited.  This didn't happen often but it was a big treat when it did happen.  Murphy was my golden retriever and he had been trained to be a visiting dog.  He went to nursing homes in the area, so it was just natural to have him visit my second graders, too.  He always wore his scarf that said: Paws To Read!

The first time he came was when he was only a few months old.  He was very quiet and stayed on our gathering spot's carpet all day.  The children would take turns going over to visit him.  He slept most of the day then.

After that, he made routine visits.  Sometimes it would be when the children earned a visit.  If they made a certain goal with their reading, Murphy would visit.  While he was there the ones who had made their personal goal in reading would get to spend time at the carpet reading to him.  It was adorable.  Murphy would put his big golden head on the lap of the reader and close his eyes as the reader would read and pet him at the same time. 

An annual visit came every February when he would come to help celebrate Clifford, the big red dog's birthday.  His birthday is on February 14th, of course.  Murphy would come dressed in a heart scarf and all the students wore red, too.  We would spend all that week reading Clifford books, writing our own Clifford stories, and writing letters to Norman Bridwell, the author.  I would send the author pictures of the children with Murphy when the letters went out to him.  We always got a letter (and other things) back from Mr. Bridwell.  After several years of doing this, Mr. Bridwell would look forward to the letters and even write especially to Murphy. 

Every year at the end of the school year when the students wrote reflections of the year, they would always include Murphy and the wonderful memories they had with him.  Hopefully, Murphy made a difference in their lives and helped them become better readers! (And pet lovers!!)


Anonymous said...

I remember Douglasville as a Cadet Teacher!! I also remember Murphy fondly, when I would come to your house on Iwo Street, he would always lick my legs, he really enjoyed the taste of my lotion! Wanted to find out the title of the song that plays on your blog, I LOVE IT!!
Thanks Nikki

elsie said...

Your story brought back memories of two Murphys I have known, they were both cocker spaniels.
I love that you were able to bring Murphy to school. The image of your students reading to him with his head in their laps is priceless. What a memory to savor.