Students gathered on the floor in the common area at Robert Frost Elementary, eagerly awaiting two special visitors: local policeman Matt Gill and his canine companion, Jake—a German Shepherd from the Czech Republic. This dynamic duo was invited to Robert Frost because the third grade class is currently reading a book called Arrow and Officer Mike, a story highlighting the relationship between a policeman and his dog.
“It is great to have Matt and Jake visit the school because it helps the students link non-fiction literature with real life experiences,” said third grade teacher, Ashley Durschmidt.
Matt told the kids about how Jake helped him maintain order and protect the community from dangerous people: “I’m proud of Jake because he saved lives,” said Officer Matt. “Him and I went through extensive training to work together to subdue people when they are being threatening, without hurting them too badly. He minimizes their injuries and eliminates the need for me to use stronger methods of force.”
Ooh’s and Ahh’s rang out from the crowd as Matt demonstrated Jake’s ability to follow commands. Matt explained that Jake is no longer an active service dog due to a bad case of arthritis in his back, but when he was healthy, Jake was deployed over 700 times.
“In the book, Arrow knows it will be a work day and not a rest day when Officer Mike puts on his collar with the badge,” said Johana Meraz, third grade. “Jake knows it will be a work day when Matt pushes the button to let him out of the police car and says, ‘Jake, over here!’ And me, I know it will be a work day when my mom turns on the lights in my room and wakes me up for school.”