by Kalli Sarkin, AnimalChannel.co
Anyone who has grown up with a pet has had the same wish at some point: that they could bring their pet to school with them. Animals are adorable, curious creatures, and having one by a student's side would certainly lighten his or her mood. One school discovered the perks of having a feline companion when they met a unique kitty.
Simba is a 15-year-old orange cat who loves being around humans. In fact, he loves it so much that one day he wandered into the local high school, which was located close to the home he lives in with his owner.
It was 7:00 am, the time for Westbrook High School to start when this little guy showed up to the door. Tina Soucy, a newly employed teacher at the time, opened the door and let him in. That was the beginning of a marvelous adventure.
The next morning, the cat showed up at starting time again - and the morning after that, and many more times after that. He has been attending the school for a decade now, and the students can't get enough of him.
"Simba seems to lighten everybody's day," explains a school administrator.
"For most people, it's human nature," observed Marc Gousse, the Superintendent. "Animals are very...warm, they're calming. They bring a sense of peace."
Many of the staff have seen students smiling at the cat. He has become a part of the school now, and it just wouldn't be the same without him.
Although Simba is given free range, for the most part, he is carefully steered out of the path of any students who are allergic to him. He is also prevented from going anywhere that would be unsafe for him. His owner is aware of her kitty's daily routine, and she is thrilled that her pet is able to have such an incredible adventure.
With over 800 students attending the school, this cat has more friends than he could ask for. It is inspiring that the staff of Westbrook are open-minded enough to let this different kind of student into the classroom.
Simba's exploits are a reminder that there is room in the school system for change. Many students could benefit from firsthand experiences of nature and animals; it is these types of interactions that lead to an ever-growing curiosity about the world around them.