JoAnna Lou
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Happy Ending for 'School Dog'
Lab mix walks children to and from school, finds vet care and home

Seven years ago, a puppy showed up in Eagle Pass, Texas and started accompanying children as they walked to and from Benavidez Heights Elementary school. She even hung around at recess to play with the kids. At first the school tried to chase the dog away, but soon they gave up and named her Debbie. The faculty and students began leaving food and water for Debbie, and even got her basic vaccinations. It always remained a mystery where Debbie went during holidays and summer break, but she was always there for every school day.

However Debbie's daily walks came to an end in late January when she was hit by a car, just outside of the school. Fortunately teacher Dr. Ronald Zawacki-Maldonado was quick to rescue Debbie and get her medical attention.

Debbie was treated for several broken bones, a dislocated spine, skin injuries, and the loss of one of her toes. While Debbie was recovering, she received lots of get well cards and valentines from students, some who are now in junior high school and high school!

Although she'll need physical therapy, Debbie finally left South Texas Veterinary Specialists after over a month of treatment. The good news is that Debbie will be going home with Dr. Ronald, her new adoptive dad. And Debbie has inspired Dr. Ronald to start his own animal rescue!

Debbie will no longer be walking the kids to school, but I'm sure she'll get to visit as the unofficial mascot!

JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by Avery Bradshaw.

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