Bixby Middle School Home to Pink-Colored Service Poodle

A Bixby middle school boy and his pink-colored poodle may not be an image parents and students see everyday.

But Jewel isn't just any kind of pink-colored poodle. She's a service dog belonging to Jesse Fitzgerald who attends and aides him at Bixby Middle School.

Fitzgerald's grandmother Laura Schwarting is a dog groomer. She says she often colors dogs, because it is popular with her clients. Her daughter offered to groom Jewel recently.

"She went ahead and colored her, not even thinking about school getting ready to start, and so, she's pink," Schwarting chuckled.Tulsa's Channel 8's community newspaper partner, the Bixby Bulletin, published a feature story on Jesse who was recently diagnosed with Costello Syndrome. The disorder affects various parts of the body including delayed development and intellectual disability. Schwarting said Costello Syndrome is very rare and means Jesse experiences anxiety and mood swings.

Jewel, whatever her color, has a job to do and takes it seriously. And that's easing Jesse's stress while at school.

"People say I've changed a lot. I want everybody to know it's not my fault," he said during an interview with the newspaper.

Although Jewel will be on duty and shouldn't't be played with by the other children while keeping Jesse calm, Jewel goes to a kennel when Jesse is out of the room at which time his vest is removed and she becomes just another dog.

Jesse recently went to a conference in Florida where has been in contact with a specialist in Delaware. Another of the doctors who treated him at the conference is from the United Kingdom.

Schwarting got the poodle as a gift when the dog was four months old. She is now six years old and has been a registered service dog for about six months.

Jesse said he does not like the pink color but still appreciates Jewel's help.