by Bethany Meissner
We all know the horrors of lead in drinking water. How many of us would know how to recognize tap water that wasn’t safe to drink? Thankfully one smart therapy dog in San Diego noticed when something was wrong with her water bowl and ended up protecting a lot of students!
According to the San Diego Cooperative Charter School 2 Mountain View Campus (SDCC2) Staff page, Star is a hardworking “Service Dog for the Classroom” who was originally from New York. She was trained by the National Education for Assistance Dog Services before beginning her work at the school. Star’s normal work is helping students learn responsibility, compassion, self-esteem, and empathy.” Star works closely with her handler, Lindsay Curtius. The principal of the school, Anthony Villaseñor, has even praised Star on Twitter as “a great addition to our loving staff” when sharing a photo of Star reveling in pets and love from students. Star’s duties do not normally include watching the school’s water, but thankfully she didn’t seem to mind adding the task to her plate.
Star first spotted the trouble on January 26, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. A teacher at SDCC2 realized that the therapy dog was refusing to drink from a bowl that had been filled at a classroom sink. Taking a closer look at the water in the bowl, the teacher noticed a troubling “sheen.” She then reported this and the district tested the water. It was found that the water’s contaminate level exceeded that allowed by the state of California. The contaminates included lead which is particularly dangerous for children. The district then contacted the City of San Diego, their water provider, which is now testing water at 187 campuses in the district at no cost to the schools.
Tests began April 4 and will finish by the time the semester ends in June. For now, students at the schools known to have a problem are receiving bottled drinking water. Tests did reveal that, although students shouldn’t drink the water, it was safe enough to use for hand-washing. The city has posted a statement online to help parents understand the testing. They have also committed to posting the results of the tests for each campus.
We’re glad that Star drew the teacher’s notice to the tainted water. Her sensitive nose saved a lot of students! Star’s biography notes that she loves walking on the beach. Hopefully she’s getting a lot of extra beach time as her reward.
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