I received a call from a dear friend of mine. She had been asked to read to a second grade class for the annual "Read Aloud Day" where community members are invited to read to the elementary classes. As a former teacher she loves children and is great with them. But unfortunately, she had just been diagnosed with pneumonia, and would not be able to attend. Might I be able to fill in for her? Absolutely! I ran to the school and left a note for the teacher whose class I'd be reading to: Could I bring Orion? She called me later that evening and said she'd be delighted to have him visit.
The next day we arrived bright and early, all brushed out, clean ruff, chili bandana tied around his neck, and his bright blue "pack-pack" on his back, which was stuffed with treats, some books about newfs, and a T/Y gift for the teacher and class. We didn't go directly to the class, but instead were invited to a breakfast with the other readers while the kids went to their classes and tended to their morning routines. While visiting with the other readers, I had the opportunity to introduce Orion the both the librarian and the children's new librarian at our public library (which I visit weekly, but they had not actually met The Count). He also met several other big dog owners (who did not have dogs with them), so he could give sloppy kisses to people who appreciated them.
Next, we were given a fourth grade escort to take us to our class, who was smitten with His Highness. While walking past other classes, we could hear kids saying, "What was that?!" "I just saw a horse go by!" "Holy cow, did you see THAT?!" Then we arrived at our class, and the kids were stunned, then delighted. They all sat on the reading rug, and Orion lay by my side as I read, "I saw an Ant in the Parking Lot", an amusing, rhyming book perfect for kids to listen to (it would have been in my home library had it been published when mine were little). Following the reading, I told the kids a bit about Newfoundland dogs, then had them each take turns feeding Orion a home-made seaweed cookie. They were very amused to find dogs like seaweed, carrots, and green beans. Orion was on his best behavior. Next, several of the kids shared their pet stories with me, which I always love. Then it was time to go, so we said our goodbyes, and Orion and I left the way we came.
Once we reached the top of the stairs we met a teacher out in the hall with a couple of her students. Not just any teacher, but a fourth-grade, big-dog loving teacher! She and her students had to come get newfie lovin's which caused the other studnets to come to the door to find out why the teacher was taking so long, which menat her class started filtering into the hallway. I asked if I could bring Orion into her class, and so we all went in, to the delight of her students. I told them about newfs, and walked around the class giving each studnet a turn to pet him, then he lay down on the floor and they all came over to cuddle with him. By the time we were done and left that room, then spoke with several other teachers in the hallways on our way out, we had been there for two hours! Orion was in his element; lots of fans, lots of little kids, lots of faces to kiss, lots of treats, it doesn't get any better than that for a newf.