Teachers and staff dogs provide joy and love


Graphic by Liliana Kirby

Big or small, fluffy or shorthaired, old or just a puppy, many know and love man’s best friend: dogs.  


People all over the world enjoy these special animals as pets, even teachers.  


Spanish teacher Jose Echezarreta has a dog.  His furry friend is named Harley, and he is a  7-year-old German shepherd mix.  


To Echezarreta, his dog makes him feel “loved.”  His favorite memory of Harley is “how happy he gets when we go to the beach.”


Testing coordinator, Kathy Tyler is the owner of a  5-year-old Shih Tzu and Yorkie mix named Bailey.  Tyler and Bailey have a special bond.


“Bailey is a wonderful little companion who shows unconditional love. One of my favorite things about Bailey is his amazingly good nature,” Tyler said.  “Everyone needs some of that in their life.  I have only had him since August but it’s hard to imagine my life without him now.”


Principal  Sally Rozanski cares for three dogs.  They were all rescued from Second Chance Rescue, a no-kill organization.


 “CoCo, 13, is a Chow-Keeshond mix, Buu-Bear Battier, 9, is a Terrier-Australian Shepherd mix, and Remy LeBeau, 8, is a Catahoula Leopard.  My dogs are part of the family.  They are great companions and good for the soul,” Rozanski said.


Teachers and staff members spend time with their pets in a variety of ways.


“Chug enjoys whatever is happening.  He likes to run alongside me if I’m riding the bike or skateboarding. We like to walk and hike around our neighborhood. He also enjoys walks or sleeping near us when we are home,”  Zane Hurley, science teacher and owner of a three year old Black Mouth Cur named Chug said.  


Even with busy schedules and personal lives, these owners always make sure to have time to spend with their pets after school, whether it is a walk in the park or a simple belly rub.


My dogs hang out with me while I am watching TV and doing my school work. I also take them out in the backyard and play with them,” Rozanski said.


There are some challenges that come with taking care of a dog.


“Bailey has a very loud bark, which makes him a good guard dog but can also be annoying.Like all dogs, he likes to chew so it’s important to have toys that are OK  for him to chew that are not my good shoes,” Tyler said.


Some dogs have special abilities that make them unique.


“Harley is bilingual.  I can tell him commands in English and in Spanish, and he gets it either way. He is super smart.  I tell him arriba, up, and he jumps up,”  Echezarreta said.  


Dogs can provide love and a sense of healing to a family.  


“When someone is sick or sad, he can sense it and lays his head on them to bring comfort. Bruno makes me feel better about my day. I always joke that he would make a great therapy dog someday,”  arts exploration teacher Elizabeth Bornia, owner of Bruno, a one and a half year old Bernese mountain dog and poodle mix, said.


The experience of having a dog is unlike any other.  While having a dog can provide comfort, fun and love, it is also a big responsibility to care for them.   


“Make sure you are ready for the responsibility,” Tyler said. “Dogs are pack animals, and when you bring a dog into your home, you become their pack. Dogs love order and want to please. It is important that they know who is in charge, so make sure it is you or they will take over.  Each breed has its unique characteristics so do some research and pick the breed that fits in best with your family.”


Taking care of a dog is not always easy, but can bring a lot of joy to an owner’s life.


Bornia said, “It’s a really big commitment, but totally worth it when you are ready.”