Dog left for dead in Mexico is helping students in Toledo improve their writing skills

Roy visits classrooms at Old Orchard in costume and the students then write stories about his adventures in those countries.
Roy comes into classrooms in a custom costume from a different country every month and students then write a story about Roy's travels
Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 6:23 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A dog left to die along a road in Mexico was taken in by a local rescue group and he’s opened up a whole new world for some Toledo students. Roy visits classrooms at Old Orchard Elementary on a regular basis. His time with the kids has helped many of the students improve their writing skills.

We’ve all heard the old excuse that the dog ate my homework. Roy is actually helping kids do their homework.

His story has inspired kids to expand their horizons and get creative. Roy is a happy-go-lucky dog that had a rough start in life. He was found tied to a pole in a rock pile in Tijuana, Mexico.

Roy was rescued and eventually taken in by the Lucas County Pit Crew. He had serious injuries and needed to have one of his legs amputated.

Jean Keating is the founder of the Lucas County Pit Crew.

“When he finally healed from the amputation, and his wheels were donated, we took him outside and as soon as he was in the wheelchair. He took off right away down the sidewalk. He goes wherever he wants to go,” Keating said.

Keating is also an intervention specialist for Toledo Public Schools. She came up with the idea to use Roy’s story to help students write their own stories.

The theme for the year at Old Orchard was Travel the World: an Adventure Awaits. That inspired Keating to start what she calls the Roy Project. Each month, Roy “travels” to a different country. He then visits the students in a custom outfit from that country and the kids write about Roy’s adventures.

“The interest in kids in other countries and cultures is really coming out in their writing. That was the intent, and the result has been phenomenal. You can see how the kids are adding more facts, going more in depth and having a better understanding about their writing projects. They don’t look at it as an assignment. They’re excited every month to write about another place and an adventure with Roy.”

Thursday, Roy was showcasing video, facts and an outfit from a recent trip to Ireland.

Carrie Meagher is a reading and language arts teacher at Old Orchard.

“The students are motivated to write because they have something tangible, they can see and feel,” Meagher said. “They experience it more authentically because they are writing about something right in front of them. It’s nice to have tools to reach kids in different ways, and Roy does that for us.,” Meagher said.

Roy has opened up a whole new world for students on multiple levels.

“It shows kids they can overcome obstacles. Just because there is a bump in the road, don’t stop. There is always something better ahead. Keep pushing through and there is someone ready to help and guide you,” Meagher said.

Rachel Garth is an 8th grader at Old Orchard.

“I think Roy shows the real values of appreciating life and appreciating what you have,” Garth said.

The dog left for dead by the side of a road has also helped Rachel improve her writing skills.

“His visits help me write more. I like writing, but I don’t have a lot to write about. When he comes in, it’s something I can focus on in a story and get into detail with. It’s helped me a lot,” Garth said.

Keating says a story with a few rough chapters at the start is now inspiring so many others.

“I always say to the kids, ‘you’ve had a couple stumbling blocks. Well, get your wheels and fly down the sidewalk like Roy does. You got this,’” Keating.

Keating says students also randomly bring her stories they wrote asking her to share them with Roy. If he’s not at Old Orchard, she records herself reading the story to Roy at home and then shares the video with the kids.

Students who write a story are entered in the “Roy Raffle” with a chance to win things like gift cards.

The teachers are saving the stories the kids have written about their travels with Roy. At the end of the year teachers will make a binder for each student to keep.

Dog found near death in Mexico is helping students in Toledo with their writing skills

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