Teacher’s Pet Helps a Class Thrive Through COVID-19

Thanks to an adopted dog named Rosie, Cindy had a kind, caring teacher’s assistant who kept students smiling throughout the pandemic.

Cindy + Rosie

When Cindy had to abruptly transition her classroom to remote learning, she found support in her adopted dog, Rosie. Together, Cindy and Rosie kept her students engaged, learning, and connected at the height of COVID-19.

"Rosie not only helped me cope with the unthinkable—and teaching first grade remotely—but she has helped literally hundreds of children deal with unprecedented times in education both academically and emotionally. "


Meet Rosie! Rosie the dog is between 10 and 12 years old, and her story is a bit heart-wrenching—but I promise it has a happy ending. Rosie was rescued from a horrific hoarding situation by St. Huberts Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey. Her story made national headlines because 188 dogs were rescued that day. The dogs were cleaned and vetted by volunteers from St. Huberts and other animal organizations and were then brought to different animal shelters—some as far as Massachusetts. I just happened to be looking for a dog since one of my rescues had just passed away, and I thought my other dog needed a new friend. The rest is history…

I am a first-grade teacher and always share family stories with my students. They especially love hearing about my pet adventures! My classes love hearing stories of Rosie, Mack, and Kicks, my three dogs. That year was like any other year in September but when March came along, the unimaginable happened. We were sent home without any answers on when we would return to school. My heart ached for these children whose lives had been changed so quickly and drastically. Living up to the way she entered my world as a “rescue dog,” Rosie came to the rescue! 

Inspired by a little dog named Pluto from Canada who I’d seen online, I used the app Talking Pet to make a video of Rosie, letting the children know how much I missed them and assuring them we would all be ok. The children loved it so much I started making videos introducing concepts and skills. This continued with my class that year and Rosie had the most important role as my teaching assistant during remote learning. 

Rosie not only helped me cope with the unthinkable—and teaching first grade remotely—but she has helped literally hundreds of children deal with unprecedented times in education both academically and socially/emotionally. In a time when we were so isolated, Rosie became their much-needed friend. She continues to bring smiles to 6- and 7-year-old children, and truly brightens their days! What more could you ask for in a special pup? 

Rosie has forever changed my classroom, many children’s lives at our elementary school—and she has especially changed my life. One little rescue dog has “rescued” so many. It is truly “Rosie to the Rescue,” and we couldn’t love her more.

Each year, Petco Love Stories invites adopters to share how their pets have changed their lives to give the organizations that they’ve adopted from the chance to receive grant awards. This story by Cindy won MSPCA-Angell in Boston, Massachusetts a 2021 Love Stories award.