“Old Dog, New Tricks”: 10-Year-Old Mutt-i-gree®, Kayla, Finds a New Home, New Calling

It’s never too late in life to fall in love with a Mutt-i-gree. It’s also never too late for a Mutt-i-gree to embark on a new career as “canine guidance counselor.” Thanks to Principal Cynthia Niedbala, a school in Hartford, CT is the next to be bringing a four-legged staff member on board as part of its implementation of the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum. St. Augustine School was recently featured in a Catholic Transcript article about the Archdiocese of Hartford’s official approval of the Curriculum, which the school started implementing in the fall.

Kayla, a 10-year-old Cockapoo whose elderly owners could no longer care for her, had been rescued and brought to Meriden Humane Society, where Cynthia’s daughter is a volunteer. Last month, word spread to Cynthia, who fell in love with and adopted Kayla, her first dog ever. The pair couldn’t be happier.

Since then, Cynthia has been busily making arrangements to bring Kayla to school every day, where the new canine instructor will be available to provide “paws-on” demonstrations for Mutt-i-grees lessons.

This crossing of paths seemed destined to take place. Before Kayla came along, another dog, Harrison – a Mutt-i-gree who belongs to Cynthia’s daughter – had visited St. Augustine. Harrison was a big hit with the kids. Several first graders were excited that they got to take turns reading to him. Thus, the idea of having a live Mutt-i-gree at the school was implanted in Cynthia’s mind. Cynthia had also heard about North Shore Animal League America’s Seniors for Seniors program back in January, which made her think even more about adopting a dog of her own.

Once Cynthia finally did bring Kayla into her life, one visit to the school was all it took for her new companion to be in great demand, too. The principal’s eyes light up as she describes the way one child in particular “just wants to be with her all day long.” So far, Kayla seems to be lapping up all of the attention!