Oria, the K. Smith Service Dog Heads to College
College Day 2017 had special meaning to the students in our classroom. Our class has adopted the University of Hawaii so we celebrated our college crazy spirit by wearing leis and U of H hats. But this year, we have a student of our own who will be matriculating to “college.”
Oria, our service dog in training for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), will be leaving us for advanced training. She has spent the last year in our 1st and 2nd grade classroom and has become a fixture at our school. The students have helped socialize Oria and she, in turn, has brought countless learning opportunities for them. She taught them patience as she listened without judgement as students practiced reading to her. She taught them empathy as they learned how she will change the life of someone in need. Now, she will teach them how to contribute to a greater good as we return her to CCI.
With mixed emotions, we are saying goodbye to her so that she can fulfill her role as an assistance dog. Soon she will be a faithful companion and give someone the gift of independence. We love you, Oria. Good luck in college.
The following are excerpts from students past and present:
I wish Oria to help someone- Andy
I wsh Oria could help a lot of people- Elisa
I felt happy because Oria was in our classroom- Aileen
I hope Oria graduates- Abdiel
I used to like it when she comes close to us. It makes us happy.- Camela
I like when Oria comes to the circle at morning meeting.- Mason
She was a good student- Miles
I liked when we got to read to Oria.- Isabella
Oria is the most cute, smart and funny puppy I’ve ever met. I hope she does well.- David C.
In 2nd grade, I was fortunate enough to have been able to spend a lot of time with Oria. I have so many good memories with her, but my favorite one if from Halloween 2016. She dressed up as a UPS carrier. She looked so cute and she even sat and took pictures with our class. It was one of the cutest moments ever and I will always cherish the pictures we took.- Carmen
It’s sad to say goodbye. My favorite time with you was your birthday last year.- Tatianna
I would like to tell Oria that she grew so fast and that she is the cutest dog in the world. I learned so much that year especially about service dogs. I will miss her so, so much. I hope that she makes it through training. I am going to miss Oria so, so much.- Thalia
You are the best, Oria, and I will miss you. Maybe I can come to visit you. – Diana
I remember when it was Oria’s birthday. It was fun to watch her eat ice cream [frosty paws]. It was also funny to watch her get her toy by herself. I liked when she shook my hand and sat when she was told to sit. I loved to pet her because she was so soft. That’s why I love Oria.- Andres
I had a great experience learning about service dogs. I learned a lot about Oria. For example, Oria is very quiet, calm and doesn’t bark and behave bad and she is not like any other dog. I believe that Oria is a great training dog for our community and for the school to get involved with her.- Aiden
It was an amazing time with Oria last year. Oria was all of these things- kind, funny, cute, quiet, and amazing. Our class wouldn’t be the lifetime of me without Oria. Oria’s birthday was fun, with a tail wag! I’m sad to see her go, but it’s for a good reason to become a real service dog for CCI. Good luck, Oria! Hope your dreams come true.- Martin
Well said, Martin.
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