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Sketched Sept. 12, 2013

As Patrick Ford teaches middle-schoolers how to build a wooden bridge, at least one in the class is not paying attention. I’m talking about Buddy 2.0, who is snoozing with her tongue out inside the cart Ford uses to wheel her around.

A real English bulldog has roamed the hallways of Beaver Lake Middle SchoolCQ in Issaquah and served as the mascot since the school opened in 1994. The first Buddy charmed kids and parents for 13 years, said Ford, and when she died they just had to get another bulldog. “Beaver Lake just didn’t feel the same without Buddy.”

The school district, which adopted a no-animal policy a few years ago, makes an exception for Buddy as long as Ford gets permission from all the parents and continues to prove that having Buddy in the school has an educational value. She helps kids cope with the anxieties of middle school, he said. “Some kids may not have many friends, but Buddy is always their friend.”

One of the dozen students drawn to Buddy during recess put it this way. “She brings us all together really well.”


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