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My beloved and trusted companion, Cosmo, has been a bit of a feature at Highgate Primary School in recent years. He could often be found guarding my office, sitting by the door, barking at anyone who dared to walk past. Many of our children have become rather attached to Cosmo, popping in to give him a stroke or a pat. On the days he wasn’t in, children would often ask, ‘Where’s Cosmo?’ to which I would always say, ‘He’s not in today.’

Last week I had to come up with a different answer, as very sadly Cosmo is no longer with us. Having reached the grand old age of 13, dignified and grey with quite a few lumps and bumps to show for his troubles, the time came for Cosmo to quietly depart. I think he’s probably somewhere in dog heaven, enjoying himself, jumping about in the long grass, stalking squirrels and enjoying a plentiful supply of juicy bones.

In his ten years as a visitor to school, Cosmo has enjoyed many highlights, helping us out in so many ways:

He has been a regular participant at our morning Run a Mile, dragging me round the course, clocking up ticks in John’s register towards his first half marathon;

He recently took part in the Year 2 sleep over, enjoying the campfire, retiring for a nap in the classroom and causing chaos at breakfast with a plentiful supply of sausages;

He’s loved chasing children around in the playground, belying his years with puppyish behaviour in the snow, and has always been very patient and long suffering with the children who’ve pulled him in every direction;

He’s been an expert teaching assistant, modelling perfect concentration in class and supporting children with their learning. This year he’s spent time helping in year 6, bringing a dignified calm to maths lesson. He has taken part in numerous carpet sessions, on one occasion showing great improvisation skills, quickly adopting the whiteboard box when feeling a little sick;

He memorably entertained the whole school this Christmas with a splendid performance as Rudolf the Red-nosed Vizsla at the annual Sing-along;

He’s shown his flexible and co-operative nature by standing in for the Dog’s Trust, whose own dog let them down at the last minute;

He was honoured to attend his first governors meeting in March, listening intently and contributing appropriately as required.

Quite simply, Cosmo has been an absolute pleasure to have at school where he’s made his mark (quite literally on one occasion, but we won’t mention that) and introduced so many children to the pleasure of a relationship with man’s best friend. He will be missed but certainly not forgotten. RIP Cosmo (13½).


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