Graduating New Bedford Students Say Goodbye to Beloved Dog Mazie
Just over a year ago, students at New Bedford's Gomes Elementary School were able to convince school officials to allow them to get a dog. On Friday, many of those students said goodbye to their beloved Mazie as they moved on to middle school.
Mazie is a pedigree golden retriever. She is a therapy dog who visits Gomes Elementary for a half-hour each week with her handler, former teacher Catherine Olsen, to provide support and comfort to students in need.
We reported in May 2021 about how the students, mostly third through fifth graders, convinced Principal Ellyn Gallant that Gomes School could benefit from a therapy dog.
"It was decided the students would do a research project on certified therapy dogs and then write persuasive essays to convince Principal Gallant that this addition at Gomes would benefit all the students, faculty, and staff," we reported then.
The students also produced a video to win Superintendent Thomas Anderson's approval. They succeeded.
On Friday, the fifth grade class at Gomes Elementary, many of whom were a part of the campaign to bring Mazie to their school, graduated and bid farewell to Gomes and to Mazie.
Time marches on, and next year they will attend middle school.
Mazie and Ms. Olsen aren't going anywhere, though. Mazie will continue to visit the children enrolled in summer programs at Gomes School and will be there in the fall when the school opens for the 2022-2023 school year.
"I could not deny these children," Gallant said last year. "These essays were from the heart and we just had to make this happen." Gallant said she keeps the essays on her desk and looks at them often.
"They are that touching," she said.