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She received some therapy from an Australian shepherd that helped her at a low point in her life. She said she wanted to give us one of her puppies to honor her grandmother who had worked with children. She just felt like it was something she was led to do. It was amazing.” Warrior came to live in Alabaster when he was 6 weeks old and apparently has fit into his role of the city’s top dog like hand in glove. “I thought I was through raising kids,” said McNish, “but now I’m raising Warrior. In the grocery store or anywhere I’m out, with or without him, I hear students say, ‘Look, there’s Warrior’s Mom.’ When we’re going down the road, he always hangs his head out the window, and folks wave and honk and shout to us, ‘There’s Warrior, there’s Warrior.’ We had no idea this would be such a public relations thing. No idea that the idea would be so popular, but the idea of Warrior has really taken off. He has pulled the Alabaster City Schools together as a family. It’s like the old saying ‘It — Wendy McNish takes a village’ and that’s the process we promote as a family. We put our kids first and Warrior is helping us pull that whole concept together.” According to Tanner, Warrior’s current duty is to be “a goodwill ambassador,” but when the puppy is a year old his training as a full-time service dog will begin in earnest. He’ll train with Hand In Paw to receive certification in their Sit, Stay, Read program, which works with students who are reluctant readers or have a hard time reading aloud. “They’ll actually read to Warrior to help build that fluency and build confidence in their reading skills,” Tanner said. “We’re excited about that. We think Warrior is going to love that because he

“I thought I was through raising kids, but now I’m raising Warrior.”

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Thompson Intermediate School student Anna Cate Tanner with Warrior. Jaxon Bearden with Warrior. Warrior and his “mom,” Wendy McNish, an Alabaster City Schools’ teacher and counselor. Meadow View Elementary students created a dog house for Warrior as part of a system-wide contest.

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Shelby Living May 2014  
Shelby Living May 2014