Vol. 15


The Pawfect Dog Walker

1944; Newark, New Jersey, USA

Many things are different today from the way they were in 1944, when my great-uncle Harold was a child. No one had a smartphone, or even a cell phone, and kids usually walked themselves to school. But my great-uncle Harold was not a usual kid — he was walked to school every day by his faithful dog, Rex.

In many ways Rex was a typical family dog. He loved barking at — and chasing — cats and squirrels. Rex loved fetch and tug-of-war and was very cuddly. And like any lawful family pet, Rex always protected his family at all costs. He also always enjoyed walking by himself around the neighborhood.

Rex was a six-year-old German shepherd when Harold started kindergarten at the local public school. My great-uncle and his family lived on top of the family’s butcher shop. My great-grandmother and great-grandfather worked day and night at the butcher shop and relied on Rex to help with one very important daily activity: walking Harold to and from school.

In the morning Harold woke up, brushed his teeth, ate breakfast, and then walked the long three blocks to the public school with a friend — his dog. Rex would wait at the school’s front yard until he saw Harold enter the school building — and only after Harold was safely inside would the German shepherd, instead of taking a leisurely stroll, walk straight back home three blocks away.

Walking Harold to school every day, and then back home, may not seem like a spectacular feat, but what happened at the end of the school day was nothing short of miraculous. On the first day of school every September, my great-grandmother would tell Rex when it was time to leave the house to pick Harold up, and from that day on, Rex knew when school was ending and when he needed to leave the house to get Harold. At the end of the school day, when it was time to pick my great-uncle up from school, this intelligent dog left the house through his little doggy door and walked back to the school. All the kids loved Rex and would pet him all the time. Rex made sure Harold always walked on the inside of the sidewalk, while Rex walked on the outside.

Rex was such a loyal family member and a great friend because when you’re the butcher’s dog you get only the best meat scraps.

Matis Kahn; New York, USA

Illustrator: Sophia Fernandez; Missouri, USA



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