Linda the yellow Labrador is more than man’s best friend — she’s the service dog, companion, and aide of a Florida elementary school student named Rachel who lives with spina bifida.
The birth defect affects the 11-year-old’s spinal cord and spine, which means she must often rely on Linda to pick things up for her.
Linda attended school with Rachel once or twice a week this past year, becoming a beloved part of both Rachel’s classroom and the Orange City Elementary School community at large: “If we could all have a service dog in our classrooms! I mean — it’s amazing the changes that I have seen in my students and how it’s brought us all together as a family,” Ashley Desmond, Rachel’s fifth-grade teacher, told Fox 13.
According to Rachel’s mom, Heidi Race, Linda was a great source of comfort for all of Rachel’s classmates, especially during exams.
“She will be there to help with tests when the kids start to get a little anxious or nervous,” Heidi explained. “She picks up on it — and she’ll go over and the kid will pet her, give her some love. It gives them a break to calm down.
Linda was so adored by the school’s students and faculty alike that she was honored with a special — not to mention adorable — tribute at the end of the school year: She received her own picture in Orange City Elementary’s yearbook as well as a faculty badge and plaque in recognition of her hard work.
See what Rachel has to say about this Very Good Girl…
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