JACKSONVILLE, FL- Schools never want to play favorites. But at the North Florida School of Special Education, the new staff member might be everyone's favorite.
He's kind, patient and covered in fur. Meet Zenbowie!
He belongs to teacher Nikki Szwedzinski and she says Zenbowie is a help to students every day. Even helping kids just get into school.
"We will take him up front and if a child doesn't want to come in, we will walk with him into school," she explains.
He started coming to the school last year and was such a hit, they decided to make it official with his ID badge and contract! Complete with a daily payment in Bark'n Biscuits, his favorite treat, handmade by kids just down the hall.
Mrs. Szwedzinski says being able to pet him or just have Zenbowie lay at your feet, it gives students a sense of calm when they are having a tough day.
"It just brings out another side of kids that if you can't reach them, maybe a dog can," she says.
While visiting the school, we saw Zenbowie's greater purpose at work. During a school assembly with kids gathering and music playing, student Christian Roberts was just overwhelmed by all of it and wouldn't go outside.
Mrs. Szwedzinski brought over Zenbowie to help comfort Christian. After a few minutes he began to walk Zenbowie down the hall then out towards the track, eventually taking a seat in the back of the assembly with Zenbowie by his feet.
"It takes their mind out of what is happening right now and helps them focus on the dog and helps them move through life easier," tells Mrs. Szwedzinski.
It is pretty easy to see why Zenbowie is quickly becoming everyone's favorite new staff member.