A high school full of teens who just returned from winter holidays might not sound like a restful refuge from the storm, but one dog disagrees — the halls of academia are just the spot.
Jennifer Johnson and her colleagues heard a dog barking outside their classroom at Napanee District Secondary School (NDSS) on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024.
“Our classroom has an exterior door,” the educational assistant explained. “One of the staff heard this barking [and] went to the door — and this dog, she was just sitting at the door very politely looking up in the window and our cameras, and so we opened the door. She had curled herself into the corner of the ramp outside the door, and the poor thing was just shaking with the cold.”
The dog was drenched, “so we just said, ‘Oh, you have to come inside, sweetheart,’” she shared.
Worried about the dog’s temperament around the students, Johnson and her colleagues made a safe little “barricaded” space, “and she just kind of curled up and went to sleep. The poor girl, you could tell she was just exhausted. So we got her a little blanket and bowl of water, and she curled up and had a nap for about an hour and a half.”
“And then she perked right up, and we could tell that she was a friendly girl,” Johnson said, explaining that they gave the dog basic commands that she followed easily, like ‘sit’ and ‘lie down.’
The dog was clearly someone’s pet, so the school staff members took to social media. Johnson said their thinking was, “Someone’s gonna show up within a half hour saying, ‘Oh, you have my dog.’” As the day went on, posts on Facebook and other social media got shared hundreds of times, and students were contacting everyone they could think of who might own the dog.
“So we have this network of kids in the classes trying to track down this dog’s family, and I have teenage boys myself who go to NDSS, so they were putting her picture on Snapchat, telling their friends and [asking if anyone knew the dog]. She was like a mystery dog,” Johnson said.
A devoted animal lover with two dogs of her own, Johnson said taking the dog home at the end of the day was a no-brainer.
“If one of my dogs was lost, there’s no way that I would want to think of them at Animal Control. I would much rather know that my dog is somewhere safe and being loved on and taken care of until I find them. So I just kind of knew that if no one had contacted us by the end of the day it would be me who takes her home,” she shared.
“We had her checked for microchip, and she doesn’t have one,” Johnson said, “But she’s healthy, and she’s in good shape. She just doesn’t know where she lives. And so she’s hanging out at my house, and she’s quite happy there. We can hang on to her for a little bit to keep her safe and warm and dry — but as much as my kids would love to have three [dogs], we would love for her to find her people.”
Johnson has left her information with local veterinarians and the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) in Napanee, and she hopes someone will reach out to them. In the meantime, she said, the dog is “safe and well cared for until we find her people.”