Dogs are such resilient creatures. Even when they’re down, they’re never down long. They’ve got an impenetrable optimism that is infectious, and one such pup is doing wonders for young students by helping them to grow in their acceptance and kindness.
This sweet dog, a miniature Australian shepherd named Tobi, is quite the example of resilience. The five-year-old dog has only two legs.
His owner, Paige Bradford, works as a special education teacher in Alexandria, Virginia.
According to ABC 7, she will often bring the two-legged pooch to class with her in teach her students important life lessons.
As Bradford has explained, “One of the things that was really fun was to work on some of my students’ goals while they were playing with Tobi because they didn’t even notice they were doing hard work. For example, one of my students had hemiparesis and had limited use of his right side. So, I brought him treats, and he had to use both hands to open the bag of treats and then use his right hand to pull out a treat and hand it to the dog. It was fun for Tobi and for my student.”
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Bradford has shared that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Tobi’s important work hasn’t slowed. While he may not be physically in class as much, he’s still very much a part of Paige’s work.
For example, she recently used a video call with Tobi as an incentive for one of her students to learn her alphabet letters.
Bradford also explained to ABC 7 that she first came across Tobi a few years ago on social media while reading an article about the special needs pooch. At the time, Tobi was located in Texas, a few states over from where she was.
Bradford said that she followed the dog on social media for a few months. According to the article, Tobi wouldn’t go up for adoption until he’d adjusted to the use of his cart. Eventually, Bradford reached out to The Humane Society of North Texas to inquire about their adoption process for a potential out-of-state adoption.
As she stated, “Luckily, everything worked out, and I ended up picking him up in July 2018.”
Following his adoption, the two became best friends. Tobi soon began to accompany Bradford to her classroom where he came to like the students she taught, and the children loved him too! Tobi is truly an inspiration. Despite not having his two front legs, Tobi was also born without two of his ribs, and because the pup often walks on his two back legs, he’s developed a degenerative disk disease. But regardless of all the health problems that he faces, Tobi is a warm and happy dog – nothing seems to phase him.
As Bradford has said to ABC7, “One of the best things that has come out of Tobi being such a large part of our classroom community is acceptance. The students in my class don’t see Tobi as different or think that they should feel sorry for him because they see him as a really cute dog.”
She admitted that at the beginning, her students often had a lot of questions about why Tobi doesn’t have legs. She said that after explaining Tobi’s backstory to them, they were able to see life in a different way – Tobi’s story helped them to become more open-minded and aware of the differences that make us all unique.
She added, “My students both with and without disabilities interact with each other and have really rich and engaging discussions. They support each other and they’re kind to each other.”
She started a fundraiser to get Tobi new wheels so he can be more comfortable. You can support the fundraiser here.
What do you think of Tobi’s story? Let us know!
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