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Handicapped Dog Teaches Students Compassion

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Hope visits with students of Kathy Barton's fourth grade class. Hope visits with students of Kathy Barton's fourth grade class.
Hope, the handicapped dog, is teaching the students about compassion. Hope, the handicapped dog, is teaching the students about compassion.
The class is trying to raise $3,000 to help other handicapped pets. The class is trying to raise $3,000 to help other handicapped pets.

By Melissa Maynarich, NEWS 9

VELMA, Oklahoma -- A Velma school teacher is teaching her students about compassion by bringing in her handicapped pet, Hope.

Hope the Australian Shepherd was born blind and deaf, but can still smell.

The dog looks abnormal, as her face continued to grow while her eyeballs remained unusually small.

Kathy Barton brings Hope to her fourth grade classroom for a week-long lesson on kindness every year.

Barton recently returned to teaching after undergoing chemotherapy.

"I was fortunate to have Hope," Barton said. "She was kind of my therapy whenever I was going through the treatment."

Not only is Hope teaching children about empathy, but also by inspiring the students to raise money for other disabled pets that need a little extra help walking.

"We have learned to understand that people and animals can be different," fourth-grader Tesla Bartling said. "It's our job to teach people that."

The students have a fund-raising goal of $3,000, which will buy six or seven carts for handicapped pets.

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