Frida — Shelter

Location: Woodhaven, New York

Meet Frida, a hero at a public school in NYC. Frida is a 1½ year old Chihuahua mix, differently-abled shelter dog who now works comforting elementary school students. Frida was born with a severe birth defect in her left hind leg. After enduring two operations, her leg had to be amputated. Soon after this amputation, Frida joined our school community, providing emotional support, promoting academic confidence and helping create a calmer, more empathetic and nurturing school environment. As a differently-abled dog, Frida has become a role model for overcoming obstacles. Students have watched her learn how to go up and down stairs, fetch toys and run even faster than other dogs! Frida makes amazing connections with students, particularly our differently-abled students. A selectively mute student, became extremely attached to Frida and spoke his first words out loud at school, reading a book to her. Another student, separated from her class due to mobility issues, became quite popular as Frida’s dog walker. Most important of all, our students have become a kinder, gentler friends and classmates. Frida’s presence motivates, encourages and supports all of our students. Her resilience and spirit are truly inspiring especially for young students exploring their own different abilities and uniqueness. Frida represents the ways we are all alike yet different and teaches everyone about acceptance, tolerance and the power of just being yourself. Frida is a whole school’s best friend.

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