Gemma Dunne, a fourth-grade teacher from Glasgow, endured a horrible weekend.
It all began when Gemma learned her beloved golden retriever puppy, Charlie, had an inoperable tumor. She had to put him to sleep the next day.
The idea of heading back to school that Monday seemed impossible, but the dedicated teacher pushed through. She did, however, have a difficult time hiding her grief and pain from her students.
Gemma decided to share what happened with her class, since she had talked about Charlie so much over the course of the past year. The kids showed an incredible amount of empathy.
When the final bell rang for the day, Gemma was surprised when one of her 9-year-old students — a little boy named Callum — walked up to her with a handwritten project he’d created in secret.
It wasn’t until Gemma got home and read Callum’s note that she broke down in tears…
Gemma Dunne is a fourth-grade teacher at St Michael’s Primary School in Glasgow.
The dedicated mom and teacher had recently welcomed another family member: a goofy, lovable golden retriever puppy named Charlie.
Gemma quickly fell in love with her new four-legged “son” and frequently talked about him with her students.
But Gemma and her family were crushed by an unexpected tragedy. On a Friday afternoon, Gemma learned Charlie was suffering from an inoperable tumor pressing on his heart.
They had to put him down the next day. He was only 18 months old.
Not only was Gemma heartbroken, she was also anxiety-ridden about having to return to school on Monday.
Monday morning came and, try as she might, Gemma couldn’t hide her pain from her 9-year-old students.
The perceptive children could tell how upset she was.
“I felt I had to tell them,” Gemma told Today. “They knew Charlie, because I had talked about him so often, and they had seen so many photos and videos.”
One of her students, a little boy named Callum, decided to cheer her up — so he spent the rest of his day working on a secret project.
When the final bell rang, Callum walked up to Gemma and handed her a stack of papers.
Inside was a handwritten poem, its lines spelling C-H-A-R-L-I-E.
Gemma had been so focused on getting through the emotional day that she didn’t look at Callum’s surprise until she left school.
“It was only when I got home,” Gemma told Today. “I read it to my family, and the tears came.”
Gemma’s 20-year-old daughter, Lucie, was so moved by the little boy’s poem that she shared it on Twitter that evening.
By the next morning, Lucie’s post had gone massively viral.
It has now been shared tens of thousands of times and has touched hearts around the world.
The next day at school, Gemma used Callum’s poem as a lesson in the classroom.
“We all talked about what a kind and loving action it was, and how that’s the way people should treat each other with kindness.”
“The strangest part is that people are calling me as if they know Charlie,” Gemma says. “People are so sympathetic towards us.”
Callum’s poem is also a reminder of just how compassionate children can be.
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