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Humane Education – Kindergarten Style

With the Christmas season quickly approaching and the puppy mills pumping out thousands of puppies to meet holiday demand, the timing was perfect for some humane education – kindergarten style.  The target – a class of shining-faced five and six year olds at a local private school eager to learn about something new.

The local police and fire departments had been in earlier in the year to teach them about dogs that rescue. Here was our chance to teach them about how they could rescue dogs.  So we packed up our favorite rescue children’s books, put together a fun presentation, and called upon our friends at Colorado Animal Welfare League for our secret weapon – puppies!

Ok, perhaps bringing the puppies was cheating a bit, but what more incentive do kindergarteners need to sit through an educational presentation than the opportunity to play with puppies at the end if they stayed quiet?

We selected two books from the Humane Society Youth’s KIND Children’s Book Award list: A Home for Dakota and Before You Were Mine. Aside from the kiddos wanting to tell their own dog stories and a little out of control hysterics when the puppy in the story peed on the rug and drank from the toilet, the book reading went swimmingly well!

We then took a few minutes to describe why there is a dog overpopulation problem, where all the dogs that don’t have homes go, what happens to the dogs that can’t stay in the shelter, and what organizations like dog rescues do to help.

We also shared with the children what they can do to help such as: always adopt – never buy; always spay and neuter your pets; volunteering when they get a little older; and raising money, food, supplies to donate to their local shelters and rescues.

We happened to have a litter of seven week old puppies named after Santa’s reindeer at Colorado Animal Welfare League that weren’t quite ready to be placed in homes just yet. These guys had been rescued from the euthanization list of a local shelter at five days old.  I was able to convince the league’s Vice President and queen rescue bee, Lisa Petri, to bring a few of the puppies over to share their story with the kids and let them play a bit with the puppies. Needless to say the puppies were as big a hit with staff at the school as they were with the kids!

It was as amazing a day for us as we hope it was for the kids. What we hope for as a result is that the children will remember to adopt and spay and neuter their pets – and just maybe – one or two will grow up to be dog rescuers like us.

We thank the school, the teachers, and Lisa Petri of CAWL for helping us organize this session with the kids.

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