The hallways of St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights are routinely filled with 971 students, 970 of them human.
Student 971 is Archie the dog.
“It’s pretty unusual to have a dog in a high school” said Brother Rob Robertson, junior class counselor. “I think the only other time a dog is in a high school is when there is a drug-sniffing dog in a high school.”
“To have a dog living in a high school and be part of the community is not something you would see in a lot of places,” he added.
Archie was a rescue dog when Robertson and another brother ventured to an adoption fair where they spotted a 60-pound yellow Lab named Sizzles. Robertson immediately connected with the dog but realized the pooch would need a name change. He figured the other brothers could not bear to yell Sizzles in the halls of a Catholic school.
After a team meeting, the brothers decided that because of his American breed face, he looked like an Archie. And so the newest member of the student population had a new name.
Archie has had a special relationship with each of the brothers and priests for over five years now. Since Robertson is the dog’s owner, he has taken care of Archie’s food bowl and nighttime sleeping arrangements.
During the day while the students are in class two floors below, Archie naps, sprawled out over the bed of Father Robert “Mick” Egan, the president of St. Viator. Some at the school say Archie has Egan wrapped around his paw.
When the 3 p.m. bell rings, an adventure starts as Robertson brings Archie down to the school hallways. Archie’s nose kicks into action, his tail wags and the hunt is on for any bit of misplaced food that might have fallen out of a student’s locker or pocket.
Seeing Archie roam the halls always brings a smile, a laugh or a positive comment from even the most hardened upperclassman. Freshman Gianna Parise, 14, said she thinks it’s cool to have Archie at school, and that it reminds her of being at home.
The students know that seeing Archie is a treat, so when they spot him, they smother Archie with hugs and pats on the head.
With all the attention Archie receives from the seven brothers and hundreds of students at St. Viator, this easygoing yellow Lab is truly one lucky dog.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.