BRISTOL - Children at Ellen P. Hubbell School clapped and cheered for Toby, a pug and Chihuahua mix, as Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu declared him City Mascot on Friday.
The dog is the pet of Erin Daly, a fourth-grade teacher at the school at 90 Washington St. Students in her class wrote a letter to the mayor as part of their persuasive literacy program about why Toby should receive the honor. Zoppo-Sassu visited the school last week to meet with Daly’s class and returned Friday with Superintendent Susan Moreau, the local police and fire chiefs to make the declaration.
As Daly walked her dog to the front of the school, students in her class were eating in the nearby cafeteria and spotted him from the window. Wearing Toby T-shirts, they ran to the windows, clapped and waved at him. Daly, along with Principal Rochelle Schwartz, were outside meeting with the dog and with the city leaders, who offered Toby pets and treats.
“It’s a little overwhelming,” said Daly about her dog receiving the honor. “I didn’t think he would be so popular.”
Daly said that she adopted the three-year-old pooch in February and that his favorite food was sweet potatoes but that she also liked to share apples and carrots with her.
After they finished their lunch, students were led outside to sit in a circle on the grass where they had recess and watched as Zoppo-Sassu read a declaration recognizing Toby. Toby, for his part, barked excited greetings to the passing children.
“He’s so cute,” said one girl.
“You convinced me with your persuasive writing skills that Toby is the right dog to be Bristol’s mascot,” said Zoppo-Sassu.
She said that she originally wanted her dog, Jeter, for the position but admitted that maybe he wasn’t the best for the job because he “eats couches.”
Toby was given a medal to be affixed to his collar while the children clapped. One student asked if Toby would get money for his new position.
“You can tell your taxpayer parents that no, the dog does not get paid,” Zoppo-Sassu replied.
Zoppo-Sassu then explained how students had said in their letter that Toby is a good looking dog, is kind to everyone he meets and shares his food. She encouraged the students to behave like Toby.
“If you didn’t have persuasive writing skills, Toby wouldn’t be the city mascot,” said Moreau. “Now, if you want to convince your parents of something, you can write a letter. You can write ‘I want to go to Lake Compounce this summer because’ and then list the reasons why.”
The two students who escorted Zoppo-Sassu to their classroom last week were then invited up to read the declaration which named Toby as city mascot for the reasons the students explained in their letter.
“I hope you enjoy the rest of the day with your guest at Hubbell School,” said Zoppo-Sassu as the ceremony concluded.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or .