Brought to you by Newscorp Australia

Dog becomes essential worker during pandemic

AP, July 15, 2020 8:00AM Kids News

Print Article

Eros carries a basket of bread from the El Porvenir mini-market as he makes a delivery on his own in Medellin, Colombia. Picture: AP media_cameraEros carries a basket of bread from the El Porvenir mini-market as he makes a delivery on his own in Medellin, Colombia. Picture: AP

animals

Reading level: green

A chocolate Labrador dog has been doing an important job to help people stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eight-year-old Eros trots through the streets of the hilly city of Medellin, Colombia, several times a day with a straw basket in his jaws, taking vegetables, fruit and packaged foods to customers of the El Porvenir mini-market.

He is paid with treats and massages of his furry head.

“He helps us to maintain social distancing” said Eros’ owner Maria Natividad Botero. “And people love it when we send the dog.”

Eros eats carrots gifted to him by a man he recognizes as "El Papito," a tip for bringing a basket of food from the El Porvenir mini-market in Medellin, Colombia, Tuesday, July 7, 2020. The eight-year-old chocolate Labrador remembers the names of customers who have previously rewarded him with treats, and with some practice has learned to go to their houses on his own, a social distancing strategy by Eros’ owner Maria Natividad Botero amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Luis Benavides) media_cameraEros eats carrots gifted to him by a man he recognises as “El Papito,” a tip for bringing a basket of food from the El Porvenir mini-market in Medellin, Colombia. Picture: AP

Eros wasn’t always a star. He was accepted into the family begrudgingly* by Ms Botero after repeated requests by her son to adopt a dog.

But Ms Botero and the rest of the family quickly fell in love with the pup. And when they opened a mini-market four years ago in the hilltop neighbourhood of Tulipanes, he started to accompany Ms Botero and her kids to make deliveries.

Eros doesn’t know how to read addresses. But he remembers the names of customers who have previously rewarded him with treats. And with some practice, he has learned to go to their houses on his own.

“He knows the names of five or six of our customers” Ms Botero said. “So I send the merchandise* with a receipt in the basket, and my customers pay me through a bank transfer.”

As COVID-19 cases in Colombia have climbed to more than 3000 new infections each day, city governments are imposing* social distancing measures, and limiting the number of days a week people can go shopping.

That’s turned delivery workers into an increasingly important part of the community.

Eros might not know that he’s become an essential worker. But he is happy to help his owners and collect his daily pay.

“He’s quite a glutton*” Ms Botero said. “He won’t leave your house until you give him a treat.”

Eros carries a basket of bread from the El Porvenir mini-market as he makes a delivery on his own in Medellin, Colombia, Tuesday, July 7, 2020. The eight-year-old chocolate Labrador remembers the names of customers who have previously rewarded him with treats, and with some practice, he has learned to go to their houses on his own. “He helps us to maintain social distancing,” said Eros’ owner Maria Natividad Botero, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Luis Benavides) media_cameraEros carries a basket of bread on July 7, 2020. Picture: AP

LABRADORS
The Labrador retriever dog breed originated* in the Canadian Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Newfoundland is an island off the northeastern Atlantic coast of Canada and Labrador is on the mainland.

Originally called the St John’s dog, after the provincial capital city, they were bred to help the local fishermen bring in nets, fetch ropes and retrieve fish that had escaped the nets, as well as to be a companion.

GDVÕs Annual Graduation Day media_cameraLabradors Jade (left), 12 weeks and Kohsan 14 weeks (right) playing with Brinna, (centre), a Guide Dogs Victoria ambassador. Labrador retriever dogs are trained to be support dogs for people with low vision. Picture: Jason Edwards

GLOSSARY

  • begrudgingly: reluctantly
  • merchandise: things to be bought and sold
  • originated: first came from
  • glutton: greedy eater

EXTRA READING

Special police medal for hero dog Max

Farewell good boy, Sergeant Ridgleigh Blue III

Australia’s biggest dog helping kids read

Humans can’t resist those sad, puppy dog eyes

Dogs can be young readers’ best friend

QUICK QUIZ

  1. What country is Medellin in?
  2. Did Ms Botero want a dog?
  3. Describe the payment Eros receives for his job.
  4. What country is Labrador a part of?
  5. What were Labradors’ original jobs?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. A dog’s perspective

Imagine that Eros can write – how would he recall his experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Write a recount from Eros’ perspective on how life has changed for him over the past few months. Include in your recount: who Eros is, where he lives, who he lives with, what life was like for him and what he is doing during the pandemic to help his owners.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and Creative thinking

2. Extension
It may seem like only a small contribution Eros is making but he may well be saving lives through his efforts, by reducing contact between people.

Write an ‘Acknowledgement certificate’ that can be awarded to Eros for his efforts. Include the following information on the certificate:

Who it is for and where he is from?

The service he is being acknowledged for

How this service is helping to save lives.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and Creative thinking, The Arts – Visual Arts

VCOP ACTIVITY
Proper Noun Police
A proper noun is a noun that names a particular person, place or thing. It always has a capital letter.

How many proper nouns can you find within this article? Find them all and sort them into the category of name, place, time (date/month).

Can you find any proper nouns included in your writing?

What are they?

Can you sort them into their categories?

HAVE YOUR SAY: What animal would you like to bring your groceries?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

Extra Reading in animals