Micky and Brownie went through fourth and fifth grades with me. Although they had excellent attendance, they mostly slept through classes and consequently learned neither to read nor write. But maybe that was because they were both dogs.
When I first knew him, Micky lived next door to me. After the children in his family had grown up and left home, he was pretty bored until Brownie wandered into the neighborhood and joined the family in the house across the brook behind ours. The two soon became fast friends, roaming freely through nearby yards and fields.
Micky and Brownie were both medium-sized dogs of unknown parentage. Micky was tan and shaggy, while Brownie was a rich chestnut brown with a few white patches. They were both friendly and had licks for everyone willing to receive them - and even those who weren't.
Just before I started fourth grade, a new family moved into a recently vacated house around the curve and up the street - about halfway to school, which was a mile away. When school started, I discovered that there were two children in the family, an older boy and a girl my age.
Brownie and Micky had already become acquainted with this family. In fact, they had decided to move in with them as they particularly liked Jean, the little girl. Besides, they liked living with each other in the same house.
When school started in September, Micky and Brownie followed Jean to school. The first few days they waited patiently outside. Then they started slipping inside when some child opened the door, but were soon ushered back outside at the teacher's request.
One day, however, they managed to sneak in without the teacher seeing them. They lay quietly beside Jean's desk until the teacher spotted them. Since they weren't interfering with the class in any way, they were allowed to stay.
And that's how they happened to go to school. All that fall and winter and spring they were there. On snowy and rainy days they undoubtedly smelled like wet dogs, but the smell of wet wool and wet rubber boots was so much stronger that no one noticed.
The dogs even appeared in our fourth-grade class picture, which shows 35 kids, one teacher, and three dogs. Three dogs? Where the third one came from I have no idea. It certainly wasn't a member of our class. Since the picture was taken outside, I think it just happened along and decided to join in the fun.
When summer came, Micky and Brownie sometimes wandered back to their old neighborhood, where one of their favorites things to do was to chase our cat, Tinker. For all their schooling, however, Tinker was smarter than they were.
One day my brother saw Tinker head for a tangle of bushes with Micky and Brownie close behind. Tinker shot through the bushes and raced out the other side. There was no opening large enough for the dogs to go through, and by the time they had backed out and gone around, the cat was nowhere in sight.
Another time, the two dogs had Tinker cornered, and my brother was just about to go rescue him when he leapt over one of the dogs and sped away, leaving the two dogs looking sheepishly at each other.
I think Tinker was glad when school started again and the dogs went off to attend fifth grade.
After fifth grade, Micky's and Brownie's adopted family moved, and I never saw them again. I wonder if they continued their schooling.