Math’s best friend

Meet an official mascot at SHS

The official Math Dog of SHS, Ellie, poses at her desk for a picture. She found her home with math teacher Mary Wheeler fourteen years ago.

Contributed by Mary Wheeler

The official Math Dog of SHS, Ellie, poses at her desk for a picture. She found her home with math teacher Mary Wheeler fourteen years ago.

A malnourished, mange covered and flea infested puppy made her way down West Washington Street near downtown Indianapolis. Little did she know a home was awaiting her right around the corner. 

Fourteen years ago, math teacher Mary Wheeler came across this puppy who was soon to be known as Ellie the Math Dog at SHS. 

“Ellie came to live with us when she was 5 months old,” Wheeler said. ”She’s been with us since then and we take her pretty much everywhere we go.” 

Wheeler wasn’t always set on adopting Ellie, but she says her partner Jeff Pierce was certain the moment he set eyes on her. 

“I had planned on taking her to the Humane Society after work, but Jeff had already given her a bath and bonded with her,” Wheeler said. 

Wheeler says the name Ellie was inspired by the puppy’s peculiar odor at the time. 

“When we found her she had mange and was smelly, so she was smelly Ellie,” Wheeler said. 

Ellie has been upbeat and enthusiastic since the day they found her as a stray and continues that same attitude today. Wheeler says that she is perhaps the friendliest dog you will meet and is happy about everything she does. 

Wheeler and Ellie became inseparable, so she began to take her to SHS on Saturdays when she had work to do. Ellie became well-known amongst the teachers and was eventually given the official Math Dog title. 

“I just started bringing her into school on Saturdays and we gave her the self-appointed title of the official Math Dog of Southport High School just by default and nobody has ever contested her for that title,” Wheeler said. 

Throughout those countless Saturdays, many memories were made and there is one in particular that Wheeler will never forget. Ellie the Math Dog took a role of a student. Wheeler has a picture of her working at her computer and Ellie sitting in a student’s desk. 

English teacher Sam Hanley has known Ellie for a while and greatly admires her but questions her math abilities since she is a dog. 

“Ellie is a great dog,” Hanley said. “She is incredibly well behaved and cute, but I have yet to see her do any math. If she’s going to call herself the Math Dog I would like to see her doing basic algebra and possibly identifying her geometric shapes.,” 

Along with her role as Math Dog, Ellie is also a brother to Zero and Mick. All three dogs enjoy interacting with one another, but Ellie and Zero play with each other the most. 

“She gets along super well and Zero is still a puppy and he is always chewing on her,” Wheeler said. “We were hoping she would do a little more of a parenting role, but she had taken more of a playmate role.” 

Ellie has many important roles in her life, but she is most known as Ellie the Math Dog. Her energy, enthusiasm, perseverance and strength are all representations of the Math Department at SHS. 

“I don’t think she’s really had a bad day in her life,” Wheeler said.