Students at J. Percy Page surprised teacher Charles Gachnang and his service dog Eddy with an assembly on Monday to celebrate their retirement.

Gachnang has been a teacher with Edmonton Public Schools since 1997.

“I noticed immediately the bond that those two had with our whole student population,” J. Percy Page principal Darryl Sutherland. “It’s not just the kids in his classrooms, it’s all the kids.”

He worked extensively with the school’s individual support program along with Eddy, who provided comfort and friendship to non-verbal students and students with medical conditions.

Students could come to the classroom and spend time with Eddy as needed.

“It’s going to be a huge, huge loss for us but we’re hopeful he’ll come back and visit and maintain that bond.”

Gachnang said Eddy has a special way with the students.

“He naturally learned to read students and he would find the students who had anxiety issues and naturally go to them.”

“All the smiles we get, the people come by and pet Eddy; it’s a wonderful way to spend part of your day.”

The duo has been working together for a decade, first at Rosslyn School, before moving to J. Percy Page in 2014.