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This Adorable 2-Legged Dog Is Teaching Kids All About Acceptance And Kindness.

Students in Paige Bradford’s elementary classrooms are learning about love, compassion, and acceptance in a very paws-on way.

The Alexandria, Virginia, special education teacher is passionate about disability rights, so when she saw a shelter listing for a miniature Australian shepherd who was born without front legs, she felt like it was fate.

“Tobi is a 5-year-old mini Australian shepherd who was born without his front legs,” Paige said.¬†“He is missing two ribs and his organs are compressed, and he also has degenerative disk disease from walking on his back legs.¬†Make no mistake, he lives a happy life and is just like any other dog. He steals our food if we leave it within reach, destroys toys, and barks whenever anyone knocks on the door.”

The teacher first saw Tobi’s picture on Facebook. After following his story, she contacted the Humane Society of North Texas, where he was located, and brought him home in July 2018.

The Humane Society had fitted Tobi with a special wheelchair, but it needed adjustments to fit his specific body type. So Paige started a GoFundMe to have Derrick Campana of Bionic Pets customize Tobi’s wheels.

The pup is so much more than a pet! Paige brings him into her classroom to make deeper connections with her students. Not only is he an emotional support animal who comforts kids with disabilities and PTSD, but he also attends therapy sessions to help troubled students.

“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,” Paige said.

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.

Paige said Tobi has helped her students see right past disabilities to focus on the human (or dog) inside. After asking some questions about his condition, her kids instantly accepted him and just saw him “as a really cute dog.” Having these open conversations helped remove the stigma around disabilities and made them more open-minded in general!

There’s no doubt Tobi has made a positive impact in Paige’s life and in the lives of her students. She has noticed that her kids are kinder and more motivated when they know they will see Tobi that day, and those attributes are spreading to other areas of their school day, too.

“My students both with and without disabilities interact with each other and have really rich and engaging discussions,” Paige added. “They support each other and they’re kind to each other.”

The pup’s new wheels are almost ready, and he can’t wait to show them off at school! Paige plans to use the extra money she raised for him to help another dog with special needs get the prosthetic device they need to thrive.

Tobi certainly sounds like one of Paige’s best assets! Share this story to tell your friends about this very good boy.

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