When it came time for yearbook photos of the graduating class of 5th graders at Orange City Elementary School, one very special service dog smiled proudly for her graduation pic!
Linda, a 4-year-old yellow Labrador, attends school every single day with her handler, 11-year old Rachel Watton. Rachel, who was born with Spina Bifida, relies on Linda to help her navigate the world around her. Naturally, that includes the halls and classrooms at Orange City Elementary in Florida.
Rachel’s mom, Heidi Race, told TODAY that Linda “opens doors and picks things up” — but more importantly, she’s Rachel’s very best friend.
“Linda would be there to help with tests when the kids started to get anxious or nervous,” said Race, who often volunteered in the classroom. “She’s very intuitive — and she’d go over and the kid would pet her, give her some love. She gave them a break to calm down.”
So, it was only appropriate that Linda get a spot alongside Rachel in the elementary school’s yearbook.
In addition to picturing the adoring pup in the yearbook, Principal Charlie Bynum awarded Linda a plaque of honor for her 3 years of dedicated service at Orange City Elementary.