It’s ruff getting old! A birthday Q&A with Branch


Photo courtesy of Jill Killo.

Devon Helmer, Managing Editor

This previously ran in the April 2022 print issue.

After his arrival at EHS this past fall, Branch has made his way around the halls and into the hearts of students and faculty.
Branch celebrated his fourth trip around the sun on April 12 by doing what he does best: spreading joy to his many admirers around the school. Students took to social media to show their love for the high school’s unofficial mascot; Branch’s face appeared in Snapchat stories after many photo opportunities as he went about his day.
During lunches, Branch helped to sell “Branch Buttons” that were decorated with his picture to allow the student population to have a piece of their favorite furry friend with them at all times. Proceeds from the button sales went to supporting the EPSD Therapy Dog Program.
The money allocated and donated to the program is split between three therapy dogs housed at various schools within the district; Mario, Emmy, and EHS’s own Branch. Funds go toward supporting the basic needs of the canines, including but not limited to food, bedding supplies, treats, toys, and most importantly, their training.
In addition to meeting the needs of the district’s furry friends, the funds also support each of their individual medical needs, and the bills that come along with medications provided to each of the dogs. Branch celebrated his big day in the cafeteria surrounded by loving students as he enjoyed his special treat; a substantially-sized cake in the shape of a bone, made out of Rice Krispies, butter, and most importantly, rainbow sprinkles.

Stinger: Do you have any birthday plans?

Branch: I have a cake that I’m going to be enjoying; it’s in the shape of a bone. I’ve never had this treat before.

Stinger: Which is your favorite bandana to sport around the halls?

Branch: My favorite is my green and black bandana that has my branchy tag on it. It identifies me as a therapy dog.

Stinger: What is your favorite treat?

Branch: They are called “Gentle Snackers.” I have a lot of allergies, but I’m not sure what they are. I’m on a sensitive diet, and I’m doing great.

Stinger: Where is your favorite place to be scratched?

Branch: My ears.

Stinger: What are your thoughts on car rides?

Branch: I love car rides. I have a crate for my safety when I’m going to and from school, and I love going in there. So far, my longest ride aside from coming here was to Lake Nockamixon.

Stinger: Where is your favorite place to nap?

Branch: When I’m at home, it’s next to my mom, Jill Killo. When I’m at school, it’s next to a student.

Stinger: What is your favorite out-of-school activity?

Branch: I love to run in the backyard and, ironically, collect every single branch in the yard that I can, and bring it to my mom.

Stinger: Who is your favorite teacher or administrator to hang out with?Branch: I love Mr. Mihalik. We call him my stepdad. I would say he’s my favorite and probably Dr. Kieres is a close second.

Stinger: What are your thoughts on squirrels?

Branch: I have thoughts on squirrels for sure. That is to chase them down until I can get high enough up in the tree to catch them. I love squirrels. I’ll do great on walks unless I see a squirrel; they’re my attention grabbers.