|Turbo to enter veterinary hall of fame
By Kathy Floyd
The air at Valley View Elementary School is filled with excitement over a ceremony Friday to honor
one of the studentsâ€™ most special friends â€“ Turbo.
Turbo is a 3-year-old Rottweiler therapy dog owned by Valley View resident Pat Crawford. At 2 p.
m. in the Valley View Elementary gym, Turbo will be introduced as the 2008 inductee into the Texas
Veterinary Medical Foundationâ€™s Texas Animal Hall of Fame.
Valley View staff will be wearing specially made T-shirts that honor Turbo, and all the students will
have buttons with Turboâ€™s picture and paw-print tattoos that say â€œI love Turbo.â€� Each
student also will be given a bookmark with the dogâ€™s picture and basic rules of animal ownership.
Valley View Mayor Carl Kemplin will present Turbo with a key to the city, and other local officials
will be on hand to take part in the ceremony.
â€œThose of us involved are so excited we can hardly sleep,â€� Valley View Elementary counselor
Kathy Ramsey said. â€œTurbo is just an exceptional, exceptional dog who has made a difference
here at Valley View.â€�
That is one reason Crawford wanted the ceremony at Valley View Elementary, the place where he
has made the most impact.
Turbo is a certified therapy dog that also regularly visits Pecan Tree Rehabilitation Center and the
Wheeler House in Gainesville. Representatives from Wheeler House and Pecan Tree will be present
at the ceremony.
A chance encounter when Valley View School Board President Alan Kassenâ€™s cows escaped
into neighbor Crawfordâ€™s pasture led to discussions about Turbo visiting the school. After an
OK by previous superintendent Kathy Garrison, Turbo became the studentsâ€™ newest best friend.
â€œThe response was overwhelming,â€� Crawford said. â€œTurbo is a big sweet teddy bear. Heâ
€™ll switch gears from nursing homes to kids to being a show dog at obedience training. Heâ€™s a
wonderful example for the breed.â€�
Before Turbo visits, Crawford shows a video about responsible pet ownership, then the kids are
given hands-on time to reinforce the video.
â€œThereâ€™s Turbo!â€� kids yell when they see Crawford and Turbo walk up to the school.
Sometimes it takes a while for Turbo to get to his destination because everyone, teachers and
students alike, stop to pet him and speak. The attachment all Turboâ€™s acquaintances feel to him
While there, Turbo visits classrooms where the younger children get to spend a few minutes petting
him. Sometimes the younger children will use Alexandra Dayâ€™s â€œCarlâ€� books, the
children'sâ€™ classics with few words about Carl the Rottweiler, and make up their own story.
The older children will split up into small groups and take turns reading to him, which both teachers
and Crawford say has been one of the most successful aspects of Turboâ€™s visits.
â€œThe dog isnâ€™t judgmental of the kids who may read slower or those who are more shy,â€�
Turbo also visits the reading resource room where children who may need extra help get to spend
one-on-one time with him.
â€œTurbo is just so non-threatening,â€� said reading resource teacher Suzette McAfee. â€œHe is
so accepting of the kids when they read. He is such a positive experience for our campus.â€�
Turbo makes his way from room to room, entering and taking his place among the children, soaking
up their love.
Student Travis Hardee worked with Turbo last year and this year.
â€œHeâ€™s a friend,â€� Travis said. â€œHeâ€™s easy to talk to and it just makes me glad to see
Turbo began his therapy career at Pecan Tree. Crawford said that the residents there quickly
became attached to Turbo, with some claiming him as their own dog. He has also participated in the
summer reading program at the Cooke County Library.
One of Crawfordâ€™s goals is to knock the bad reputation that Rottweilers have received because
of irresponsible pet owners. Turbo has taken a temperament test, which Crawford said he â€œsailed
Animals for the Hall of Fame are nominated by a veterinarian. Crawford believes that Turbo is the
first Rottweiler to be inducted. His vet, Dr. Lynn Stuckey of Animal Hospital in Sanger, nominated
him for the award.
â€œHeâ€™s a awesome dog,â€� Stuckey said. â€œHeâ€™s affected a lot of peopleâ€™s lives
from school kids to seniors.â€�
Stuckey also praised Crawford for what she does with Turbo.
â€œPat puts in a lot of time and helps teach the kids responsible pet care,â€� Stuckey said. â
€œSheâ€™s put in hundreds and hundreds of volunteer hours.â€�
Turbo has won numerous obedience and therapy awards including the Anvil TRUE Award for
therapy work and a top 10 obedience award in 2007 through the American Rottweiler Club.
Turbo is one of two dogs honored this year. Founded by the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation
in 1984, the Texas Animal Hall of Fame was created to share the joy of the human-animal bond by
recognizing exceptional animals. Texas Veterinary Medical Association members nominate animals
each year, and the TVMA Public Relations Committee chooses which animals to induct.