Make no bones about it: Magic was loved.
During Wednesday's "Celebrate Magic" event in Tiffin Middle School's gymnasium, Donald Coletta, superintendent of Tiffin City Schools, said Magic never had to say anything, but brought people comfort by being with them. Magic provided unconditional love to everyone and loved them for who they are, he said.
"I believe that Magic made us better people," he said.
PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE
Faith Egbert, a second-grader at Krout 2-3, writes about Magic on a paper bone Wednesday evening.
Tiffin City Schools' therapy dog, an 8-year-old golden retriever who had spent six years working with students, died of a suspected enlarged heart last month.
"He was simply magic," said Dawn Iannantuono, Tiffin City Board of Education member.
Magic came from Assistance Dogs of America Inc. and started working at Tiffin City Schools when he was 2 years old. He did individual counseling and therapy, worked with social skills groups and spent time with regular education students and students with special needs.
Shirley Feltt, a breeder from Montpelier, Ind., who attended Wednesday's celebration, donated Magic to Assistance Dogs of America.
"I knew he was special," she said.
Counselor Suzanne Reinhart, who was Magic's handler, reflected on Magic's ability to count and spell and the unconditional love he gave to all. She said people are going to continue the mission Magic started.
"Magic gave us six years of some pretty awesome, awesome memories," she said.
Other school therapy dogs attended the celebration, and T-shirts children wore bore messages about loving and missing Magic and about him being the No. 1 dog.
Brianna Artrip, a third-grader at Krout 2-3, her 2-year-old brother, Jaydon Artrip, and her cousin, Skylar Danner, a third-grader at Krout 2-3, wore shirts they decorated in memory of Magic.
Brianna and Skylar had read with Magic at Tiffin-Seneca Public Library, and Brianna recalled Magic participating in a math lesson with her class.
Keith Hodkinson, chairman of the committee planning Tiffin's future bark park, said officials will remember Magic in a special way when the park opens next year.
Hodkinson said he takes hugs with dogs seriously and had the opportunity to hug Magic twice.
"I feel cheated. ... I'm a great dog lover," he said.