An absolute no fur no feathers policy in public schools is rare. Just this May I met Doris the puppy a Seeing Eye in training and watched Elvis stroll with his math teacher Momma on the quad lawn.
Through the years I’ve managed to kill about 20 gold fish, and two rather stinky rats. (I actually saw one of the rats die– head suddenly raised, keeling over, twitching and then nothing–all in about 10 seconds.)
If you do decide to bring your pet to school here are some guidelines. I’m sure you won’t kill your dog at school, or watch as your rabbit brutally attacks your students, but just in case make sure you’ve got these covered.
1. Get permission first. This is not one of those “ask for forgiveness” moments. You want to make sure that administration is on board.
2. Demonstrate that you can control your animal, and that the creature is kid friendly. If you have any doubts, don’t bring it.
3. Pick up the poop and put it in an outside trashcan.
4. If a student or faculty member seems uncomfortable stay clear. Don’t insist on “introducing” your animal. Respect people’s space.
5. Understand that YOU are the responsible party and that YOU can be sued. Be aware that if you don’t have umbrella insurance an injured party can go after your assets for compensation–including your house.
6. Be mindful of your animal. Prepare a quiet space and make sure plenty of water and potty breaks are available.
There’s always the surprise ending. You may go to school dogless and come home with one, like I did. Mike the custodian found little Buttercup poking around the drink machine. No one claimed her so I took her home on a trial bases. That was three years ago.