The Fenton schools were honored to welcome the first Mutt-i-grees Curriculum School Dog, Jeter. Jeter was loved by his family, Toni and Jim Frear, students, and staff. He touched lives coast to coast in his long life and will be remembered dearly. He has a piece of history for Fenton, The Mutt-i-grees Curriculum, and North Shore Animal League America. The Fenton Schools are honoring Jeter with a fundraiser benefitting the shelter he was rescued from, North Shore Animal League America. Irene Sumida, Matia Finn-Stevenson, and Jayne Vitayle were integral parts of Jeter's journey to Toni Frear and his career in schools. They have shared stories about Jeter's legacy:
The Fenton schools were very fortunate to be invited to be trained in the Mutt-i-grees program. We knew little about the program, but Matia Finn Stevenson's enthusiasm was truly contagious and our Fenton team was eager to participate. While in New York, we had the great fortune to visit the North Shore Animal League. Our talented school counselor, Toni Frear, observed every dog thoughtfully, and to my surprise (because she had always had cats), told me there was one whom she would like to adopt as he displayed such strong social and emotional intelligence. She believed he would not only make a great companion to her and her husband, but make a difference in her professional life as a therapy dog. Some negotiating occurred, and fortunately, Jeter was flown out to LAX and joined the Jim and Toni Frear family. From that day forward, Jeter worked diligently, demonstrating an extraordinary sense of which children needed his attention and care. He changed the lives of so many Fenton students and we will always remember Jeter with love and gratitude.
- Irene Sumida, Fenton Charter Public Schools
In January 2010, our launch of the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum welcomed 40 educators from Fenton Charter schools in Los Angeles California that participated in the 1st Mutt-i-grees training in New York. During the visit to North Shore Animal League America’s Rescue and Adoption Center, guidance counselor Toni Frear fell in love with one of our rescue dogs. Toni adopted the dog, named him Jeter, a plane ticket was purchased for him and off he went to begin his new life as the very first Mutt-i-grees School Dog. Hundreds of elementary students cheered his arrival as he entered the school for a red-carpet ceremony. Jeter became an integral part of the school community, helping many students. In the large schools, not all students could see him every day, but his presence was a positive force that echoed the hallways even when he wasn’t there. One student said: “I don’t see Jeter every day but he’s always in my mind.” Also, the suggestion box that was created to give all students a means to communicate with Jeter was very popular. Students would send Jeter messages to help them problem solve obstacles they were facing. He was so busy wearing many hats he had multiple vests he wore proudly depending on his assigned subjects of the day. Jeter served the school community for more than 12 years, even after his pet parent retired. We will miss Jeter deeply from California to New York state. He was a part of all of us. To our beloved Jeter who made this world a better place for so many. Forever in our hearts.
- Matia Finn-Stevenson, School of the 21st Century and Jayne Vitayle, North Shore Animal League America