BA's beloved "pet" Callaway dies

By JAMIE PATTERSON,
The Benton Academy family mourns the loss of their beloved school pet and mascot Callaway. 
Callaway passed away Monday after fighting to survive an animal attack a few days earlier. 
 “He is more than just a dog,” said owner Phylis Saxton, following his attack. “He is so special.”
BA school officials broke the news to its students Tuesday, who took it hard since Callaway was considered a student and part of the academy family. For many students, Callaway had been with them since their first day at school. 
“I cannot thank everyone enough for the love shown to him over the years at Benton Academy, and I was so looking forward to him walking the field with our senior class,” Phylis said. 
Lily Saxton, the daughter of Mark and Phyliss Saxton, shared the halls with Callaway from fourth grade until now in her senior year. 
“Callaway was loved by so many people,” Lily said. “He was a comforter and friend to all kids at Benton Academy, and he will be missed by many.”
The beagle and Jack Russell terrier mix stole the school’s heart when he showed up to visit the schoolchildren several years ago. Since then, he traveled from the Saxton home every day to spend time with his second family at BA. 
Phyllis considered Callaway a student at Benton Academy. He arrived at the school daily, met with hugs and head rubs from students and faculty. 
Not only did Callaway attend classes every day, but he never missed an athletic event or school function. 
Traveling from his nearby home, it was as if he could hear things happening at the school. And off he would go. 
Callaway tended to stay near the elementary children. He had a bed in the hallway, and he seemed to enjoy all the attention the younger students give him.
Callaway could be found on the school floats during any parade.  He appeared on the back of the school’s Harvest Carnival shirt in 2013. He even accompanied Lily on the back of a convertible when she was crowned Homecoming Queen. 
Callaway sat in the bleachers with students during the BA football games. He almost seemed to enjoy watching baseball games. And he could often be found on the football field during evening programs.
Callaway traveled the school’s hallways daily, sticking his head into many classrooms for a quick visit with the children or a tasty snack. 
Food was even saved for him from the cafeteria.
But now his small beds scattered throughout a number of classrooms remain empty. His daily visits to each classroom have stopped. And his presence is deeply missed by both faculty and students. 
 “He was a blessing to all who met him, and he will be remembered forever,” Lily said.