Former Marjory Stoneman Douglas teacher Ivy Schamis and her new service dog Sayde, from the nonprofit Steadfast Service Dogs. {Courtesy Steadfast Service Dogs}

By Sallie James

Ivy Schamis met her new K-9 companion on Wednesday in Fayetteville, NC.

Meet Sayde, a service dog from the nonprofit Steadfast Service Dogs, made possible by donors who fully covered the $16,000 cost for the dog and its extensive training.

Schamis is a former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School teacher who has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since two of her students were fatally shot in her classroom on February 14, 2018. Seventeen students and staff were killed that day by now-convicted killer Nikolas Cruz.

Schamis resigned from her teaching position two years after the mass shooting and now lives in Washington, D.C.

“Ivy sat down on our front deck, and the three puppies chosen for her came to visit. Two of the puppies were content to rest nearby and watch Ivy, but Sayde climbed into Ivy’s lap, snuggled, and stayed with her,” said Gwen Sadowski, co-founder and executive director of Steadfast Service Dogs. “When Sayde left Ivy to explore, she returned to check in and snuggle. All three puppies were selected for Ivy based on her personality, task requirements, and lifestyle. All puppies were quite capable… but it was very obvious that Sayde chose Ivy. “

Schamis will take Sayde home to Washington, D.C., for 2 ½ months to bond, then return to North Carolina for the puppy’s intensive training, Sadowski said.

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Author Profile

Sallie James
Sallie James
Sallie James is a veteran reporter/blogger/copywriter who spent most of her writing career in South Florida, including 22 years at the Sun Sentinel. She has also freelanced for The Coastal Star, South Florida Gay News & Florida Weekly. Sallie is the mother of grown boy/girl twins, a Guardian ad Litem, an animal rescuer, and a longtime Tamarac resident. She earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism from Indiana University.