Service Dog Appears in Yearbook

Tucker is a favorite staff member
By Karen B. London PhD, May 2018, Updated June 2021

Flipping through their yearbooks this week, my sons were thrilled to see that the most adorable staff member (and one of the most popular) had his photo in the yearbook along with everyone else who works at or attends their school. Tucker is a service dog for one of the Latin teachers, and he is a beloved member of the school community. It only makes sense that his picture is in the yearbook.

Although Tucker’s focus is on the woman who he has been trained to assist, he does more than his main job when at school. The kids say that the teacher is very generous with him and that when appropriate, she allows them to interact with him. That is especially helpful when a child is stressed out or sad for some reason. Many of the students appreciate it when he pops his head out from behind a desk and amuses them. He adds levity to the class and has cheered up many people during the year, all without losing track of his real responsibility.

Though this is the first yearbook we’ve personally seen with a service dog’s photo in it, this practice has become quite widespread. That speaks to at least two ways that the world has progressed. One, service dogs are becoming more common with each passing year. Two, dogs are viewed as members of our society more than ever. As fully recognized participants in our life, it is not surprising that they would appear in a yearbook along with all the other individuals who are a part of a school.

The sweet face of Tucker graces the school yearbook, but what is really wonderful about this sweet mixed breed dog is the way he has graced the lives of many people in addition to the person he has been trained to help.

Photo courtesy the author

Karen B. London, Ph.D. is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral issues, including aggression. Karen writes the animal column for the Arizona Daily Sun and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University. She is the author of six books about canine training and behavior, including her most recent, Treat Everyone Like a Dog: How a Dog Trainer’s World View Can Improve Your Life