APACHE, Okla. (KFOR) – Often before sunrise, in the cold, or the rain, Special Education teacher Pamela Mindemann starts her day early at Boone-Apache Elementary.

She greets kids at the drop-off line, directs traffic, and is often the first smiling face students see when they get to school.

This is her 7th year at this duty post.

Pamela laughs as she tells us, “I volunteered.”

Safety first, a smile second.

Drop-off takes about 30 minutes.

The only vehicles allowed to linger are the ones with extra passengers, extra furry passengers.

For Maria Rupert’s dog, Pearl, the morning school routine is almost certainly the highlight of her day.

Rupert drops four kids at the door, but Pearl is the only one to get a treat.

“This is her second year to be in carpool to get treats,” she says. “If she doesn’t get one then she has a bad day.”

Mindemann’s daily regiment began around four years ago with one or two dogs, then more as word spread.

“It just kind of grew from there,” she smiles. “Every one of them looks forward to getting their treat, and you can see them coming around the corner sticking their head out of the car.”

This year, there are at least a half-dozen regulars.

“It’s good public relations,” explains Mindemann. “I get to know parents better. It just makes the morning more enjoyable.”

As the morning assembly gets started and children Pre-K through 5th grades shake off the sleepies and get ready for a full school day, the family pets lucky enough to make the trip can relax with a good nap, a full belly, and the expectation of the same routine happening all the way to next spring.


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